Last year the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday and we all wish it continuing good health as it looks after everyone, from prenatal care onwards. This New Year, as we wish one another good health, it is a good time to look at the next 10 years for the NHS which provides essential care for all of us.
Early in the New Year the outline of the 10 Year Plan (Long Term Plan) was published and the goal is to enable people to live healthier lives for longer.
The first aim is to improve cancer survival rates, with earlier and faster diagnosis, as well as new screening programmes and the chance for all people with cancer to take up genomic testing. Over 10 years, all this will help 55,000 more people to survive the disease.
100,000 heart and stroke patients will be helped by plans to prevent, detect and treat cardiovascular disease. This would also help people with dementia and it would ensure 1,600 stroke patients to avoid long-term disability.
Better access to mental health services would give 370,000 adults with severe mental illness and 345,000 children greater support to get better. There will also be new mental health support teams to work with schools and colleges to support children and young people.
There is emphasis on fighting inequalities, so that there will be expanded support for our veterans and for people who need ‘care after custody’. There will be measures to support 35,000 people with severe mental illnesses to find work. Better support is planned to help children with learning disabilities and autism – a fitting way to mark 10 years of the Autism Act which I introduced to Parliament and I hope there will be yet more measures like the one announced in December, to stipulate the inclusion of children’s needs as well as those of adults in the Autism Strategy.
The staff of our NHS should not be forgotten and there are plans so that they receive better support, training and career progression, as well as measures to sustain their own resilience and mental health.
(This article was first published in the Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Examiner)