Secretary of State advances the prevention agenda

Secretary of State advances the prevention agenda

November 6, 2018

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, has released a policy paper setting out the Government’s plan to put prevention at the centre of healthcare.

The paper, Prevention is better than cure, sets out plans to diagnose cancer earlier, tackle obesity and use technology to predict illness, in a drive to increase life expectancy by five years. It also stresses that individuals need to take extra responsibility for their wellbeing by adopting healthier lifestyles.

Mr Hancock announced that a Green Paper on Prevention will be published in the first half of 2019. This sits alongside his Department’s wider work in creating a long-term plan for the NHS.

PSNC’s response to the long-term plan consultation called for further commissioning of services to enable community pharmacies to do more to help people to stay healthy and so we welcome a reference to this in the policy paper:

‘The Government wants to encourage more people to make the most of their local pharmacy, and for local pharmacies to play a stronger role in helping people stay healthy.  There are almost 10,000 community pharmacies registered as Healthy Living Pharmacies in England. They deliver a wide range of lifestyle and health interventions, and promote wellbeing and self-care services.’

After Mr Hancock outlined his plans during a session at the House of Commons, Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, asked what his views are for community pharmacy as part of the strategy for prevention and Mr Hancock replied that community pharmacies have a “hugely important role to play in keeping people out of hospital and in supporting GP surgeries by doing more”.

Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, followed this up with a suggestion that the Secretary of State visit a community pharmacy in her constituency and Mr Hancock indicated that he would do so as part of a nearby visit due to take place later this month.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“We agree with the Secretary of State that we must do more to support preventative healthcare – this should help both people to live longer, healthier lives, and the health service to manage the increasing demands being placed on it. We were pleased to note the acknowledgement in this policy paper that local pharmacies can play a stronger role in helping people to stay well. We very much agree – community pharmacies are ideally placed to help people to stay healthy and avoid visits to hospital – and look forward to working with HM Government to make this shared vision a reality.”



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