Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
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As Public Urged To 'Take Responsibility For Their Own Heal0

As Public Urged To 'Take Responsibility For Their Own Heal0

As part of the prevention plans, the government will hold a consultation next year to encourage employers to support more disabled people into work, and to improve access to occupational health.

In the paper - 'Prevention is better than cure' - health and social care secretary Matt Hancock announced the government would put "greater focus" on prevention but acknowledged this wasn't a job for the health and care sectors alone.

Overall, the focus is on changing lifestyle habits like diet, exercise and sleep, taking action on mental health, and gearing up the NHS to pick up health issues and provide care sooner - for example it wants three quarters of cancers to be diagnosed at earlier stages (I or II) by 2028.

While a combination of genomics and artificial intelligence had the potential to transform preventative medicine, he said it also was up to individuals to take greater responsibility for their own health.

"It's about people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking".

Mr. Hancock insists it is not about "patronising" patients, "It's about helping them make better choices, giving them the all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy".

While he did not reveal how the extra funds will be allocated, Mr Hancock said "in practice" the DH's new prevention vision will require "greater funding for pre-primary, primary and community care - and support for the staff who work in these services".

The UK is now spending £97bn from the public purse on treating disease but just £8bn on preventing it, Mr Hancock is expected to tell the meeting during his keynote speech. "You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up", he said.

Mr Hancock later told Sky News the recent £20.5bn extra funding for the NHS was not reliant on a Brexit deal.

The shift towards prevention has also been praised by the Royal College of Nursing, which reiterated the call for serious investment at a local level.

"Over the course of our lives, our first and most frequent interactions with health and social care services are likely to be with our GP, school nurse, dentist, local pharmacist, social worker, health visitor or midwife", the DH said.

"If the borders gum up and it's hard to get lorries across on the ferries because of action the European Union side takes, then we've got to make sure that people can have access to their medicines", the health secretary said.

Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth said while the plans are "laudable", they follow "years of cuts and failed privatisation".

"There is a need to reserve the cuts to public health budgets, as in many areas, public health services do not adequately meet the health needs of the local population".

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