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NHS Long Term Plan

This week has seen the launch of the NHS Long Term Plan, which explains how the NHS will spend an extra £20.5 billion of funding to make it fit for the future.

Once again we were closer to the action than most as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matthew Hancock MP, chose to visit West Suffolk Hospital on Sunday (6 January) to give his first media interview on the plan and talk to staff on the frontline.

The Health Secretary told Sky News that health services need a "big shift" to "focus on prevention as much as we do on cure".

This will include using technology to provide more precise targeting of public health messages.

"We ask people to take responsibility to keep the pressure off the NHS and make sure that it's there for people who really need it,” Mr Hancock said. "We can target messages at people to try to make sure that they maintain healthier lifestyles.

He also revealed the Government's plans for an overhaul of social care will be published "in the coming weeks" to coincide with the new NHS plan.

So what does the plan say?

Last summer the Prime Minister committed an extra £20.5 billion a year going into the NHS by 2023/24.

The NHS has developed its Long Term Plan in partnership with those who know the NHS best – NHS staff, patients and their families – and it maps out how the extra money will be used.

The Plan’s vision marries with our own priorities and seven ambitions here at WSFT. It wants to make sure the NHS provides better care and outcomes through every stage of life by: giving everyone the best start; delivering world-class care to help people live well; and helping people age well.

The 10-year plan includes:

  • Giving patients digital access to their GP, including being able to manage prescriptions, make appointments and view health records online
  • More support for 350,000 children and young people and 380,000 adults with mental health conditions, including easier access to talking therapies
  • Giving more people say over their care as they age and expanding the use of personal health budget
  • Better maternity services, including a dedicated midwife looking after a mother throughout her pregnancy and giving more mental health support to new parents
  • Tackling inequalities by working with specific groups who are vulnerable to poor health, with more funding to areas with high deprivation and targeted support to help homeless people
  • Backing our workforce by increasing the number of people working in the NHS, and offering better training, support and career progression.

Now that the NHS Long Term Plan has been published, local NHS organisations like ours – working together with each other, local councils and other partners – will be expected to develop our own strategies for the next five years to make the Plan a reality for local communities.

The good news is, that through our Alliance and Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) work, we’re already making great strides –initiatives like our support to go home service are helping to break down barriers between acute and social care; we’re doing more to try and prevent people becoming ill through our early intervention team and looking at population health; and we’re improving the care people get with us through things like our acute assessment unit and new cardiac suite. Plus, as a global digital exemplar (GDE), we’re already at the forefront of using technology in healthcare.

You can read more about the NHS Long Term Plan here.

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Chief executive, Steve Dunn

Chief executive, Steve Dunn