NHS looks to digital and genomics to secure its future

Grant Boone
January 8, 2019

Royal National Institute for Blind People's eye health policy manager, Helen Lee, said the focus on prevention and the use of technology within the long-term plan was welcome.

NHS England will also design a new Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme, which will have a focus on suicide prevention and reduction for mental health inpatients.

Due to be published later today, the government 10-year plan for NHS England has been criticised by Labour as lacking both staffing and the funding to succeed.

The plan also aims to provide genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, reaching around 30,000 people.

Efforts to tackle respiratory conditions and prevent 80,000 hospital admissions will see patients given "smart inhalers" which are Bluetooth-enabled so patients' conditions can be monitored wherever they are.

- Cutting-edge scans and the potential use of artificial intelligence to improve stroke care.

This cash boost is the latest in a series of funding increases for primary and community care: after May's landmark pledge in June for an extra £20bn for the NHS by 2023, in November the prime minister announced a real-terms investment sum of £3.5bn per year for community and primary healthcare by 2023-24 and committed to a "growing share of spending" for out-of-hospital care.

NHS England said the money could save around 500,000 lives by preventing life-threatening diseases such as strokes, heart problems and cancer by detecting them earlier.

Mr Speaker, as last year's 70th anniversary celebrations proved, the NHS is one of our proudest achievements.

A substantial chunk of the plan focuses on how mental health services will be improved between now and 2029, by improving waiting times, providing a universal helpline for those in crisis, and investing money into services supporting children and young people. Despite the 2bn increase to the existing £12bn a year now spent on mental health services in England, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPS) previously expressed concern that this figure is only half what is needed for the NHS to put spending more on par with that of physical health.

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Edwards said the biggest obstacle was a lack of staff, which has been estimated at a 250,000 shortfall by 2030, and the impact Brexit would have on this.

'However, it is vital that this is done in a way that minimises disruption for hard pressed Global Positioning System and their practices and enables progress to be made in a way that protects the ability of Global Positioning System to deliver care in the way that best meets the needs of their local communities'.

The plan has been welcomed by campaigners, but experts warned that implementing it would be hard.

"Targeted specialist help for people who are alcohol dependent will be welcomed by all within the industry", said John Timothy, chief executive of the Portman Group.

This means improving access to high-quality care for our all mental health needs, increasing the size and skills of the workforce, integrating services, improving outcomes and involving patients.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: The whole objective of the NHS has to shift to helping people stay healthy as much as helping them when they are ill, as part of a move to prevention rather than cure.

Richard Murray, chief executive at the King's Fund think-tank, said: "The NHS and social care are two sides of the same coin yet publication of the social care green paper has been delayed yet again".

However, experts have criticised the new plan, saying it failed to address the "harsh realities" caused by difficulties in recruitment and increased pressure on staff.

Local Government Association spokesman Ian Hudspeth said the plan's goals could only be fully realised if councils were properly funded to deliver social care and public health services.

"Not everything can be done at once, so as always there will be some careful choices to make", Mrs May said.

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