Letter - NHS long term plan, by Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP

The NHS Long Term Plan

Today, we are launching our NHS Long Term Plan, a 10-year plan explaining what the health service will do to enable people to live healthier lives for longer, and how we will get the most out of the additional £20.5 billion in real terms being injected into the NHS over the next five years. It means our cherished NHS, which is there for us at some of our most difficult moments can overcome its challenges and seize the huge opportunities that are increasingly available.

The Long Term Plan for the NHS has been developed and driven forward by clinicians, patients and medical experts. Over the last six months, the NHS has drawn in more than 2,500 responses from individuals and groups to its calls for evidence, representing more than 3.5 million people. This has now been translated by working groups, led by clinicians, into this detailed plan to ensure the NHS is always there for you and your family.

At the heart of the plan is the principle that prevention is better than cure. The NHS will do much more to support people to stay healthy, rather than just treat them when ill. The biggest increase in funding will go to primary and community care. GPs are the bedrock of the NHS, and we need to do much more to treat people out of hospital, and keep them healthy in the first place. I wanted to draw out some of the most important elements of the plan, which I hope address many of the issues that matter to you and your constituents:

• A flagship ambition to improve cancer survival rates, with earlier and more rapid diagnosis, new screening programmes and an offer of genomic testing to all people with cancer – so that in 10 years’ time, 55,000 more people survive cancer each year.

• Improvements in the prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including expanding the use of mechanical thrombectomy in stroke care and improving access to cardiac rehabilitation to be amongst the best in Europe by 2028 – over 10 years, the plan will prevent up to100,000 heart attacks, strokes & dementia cases and ensure 1,600 stroke patients avoid long-term disability each year.

• Better access to mental health services, giving 370,000 adults with severe mental illness and 345,000 children greater support to get better, and roll-out of new mental health support teams to work with schools and colleges to support children and young people.

• Boosting out-of-hospital care via an unprecedented increase in funding for primary medical and community health services, meaning that spending on these services will be at least £4.5 billion higher in five years’ time.

• Fighting inequalities, with expanded support for veterans and ‘care after custody’ services; measures to support 35,000 people with severe mental illnesses to find work;; better support for children with learning disabilities and autism including a major drive to move people with learning disabilities out of inpatient facilities.

• Making digital health services a mainstream part of the NHS, so that in five years every patient in England will be able to access a digital GP service, supported by wider efforts to improve NHS IT infrastructure by mandating new technology standards on interoperability, privacy and cyber security.

• Making the NHS a world-class employer, by improving leadership in the NHS at all levels, clamping down on bullying and violence against staff, boosting nurse and doctor numbers, and ensuring staff receive better support, training and career progression, as well as a comprehensive wellbeing offer to support their own resilience and mental health.

In the coming months, the local NHS will work with communities to shape local service plans, setting out how the NHS Long-Term Plan vision will be delivered across the country.

I am sure that all of us will want to feed into this process on behalf of our constituents, and I have asked the NHS to ensure all MPs are fully involved in these important conversations. My ministerial team and I are also very happy to discuss if you have specific issues or concerns you would like to raise.

At a time of great challenge and division across our society, the NHS can be a unifying force because it embodies the core values that we all hold dear: the principle that everyone, regardless of wealth or personal circumstance, should be able to get the healthcare they need.

Our NHS Long-Term Plan, supported by record levels of funding, signals the Government’s determination to transform health and care for people at every stage in life. It demonstrates that the NHS is our priority just as it is the public’s priority, and it gives us the chance to secure the NHS for the future and back the tremendous work of our NHS staff.

I will make sure you are kept aware of progress, and look forward to working with you closely, as we begin turning these important proposals into tangible improvements for our constituents over the months and years ahead.