Today NHS England have released their long-term plan to ensure the future of the NHS and the continued care of UK patients.
The plan is backed by 20.5 billion – the biggest funding settlement in NHS history. Informed by NHS staff and patients, the plan sets out their priorities for the next 10 years.
Some important features of the plan include the digitalization of health records and services for patients, Increased investment in mental health services (rising to at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24), and more help for patients suffering with addiction.
The NHS predicts that the long-term plan will “save almost half a million more lives with practical action on major killer conditions and investment in world-class, cutting-edge treatments including genomic tests for every child with cancer.”
To make the NHS fit for the future, the plan is to use the latest technology, such as digital GP consultations, combined with early detection and a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year.
However, the plan has been criticised by experts and doctors who warned that this ambitious vision for the future of the NHS could be undermined by the deepening staffing crisis in the UK that can be partially attributed to Brexit and government immigration policies which give health workers have no certainty over visas.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “The NHS has been marking its 70th anniversary, and the national debate has rightly centred on three big truths. There’s been pride in our health service’s enduring success, and in the shared social commitment, it represents. There’s been concern – about funding, staffing, increasing inequalities and pressures from a growing and ageing population. And there’s also been legitimate optimism – about the possibilities for continuing medical advance and better outcomes of care.
“In looking ahead to the Health Service’s 80th birthday, this NHS Long Term Plan acts on all three of these realities. It keeps all that’s good about our health service and its place in our national life. It tackles head-on the pressures our staff face. And it sets a practical, costed, phased route map for the NHS’s priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead.”