New Health Secretary sets out NHS priorities and role for pharmacies

New Health Secretary sets out NHS priorities and role for pharmacies

July 20, 2018

Prevention, technology and the healthcare workforce are to be the top early priorities for the health service, the new Health Secretary has said today.

Simon Stevens’ priorities for the NHS

Earlier this week, NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens announced five long-term aims that will form part of the ten-year plan for the NHS due to be unveiled in the autumn.

These include:

  • Major improvements to mental health services, particularly for children and young people and in areas of core crisis care;
  • An overhaul to many aspects of cancer screening services, including early intervention and diagnostics;
  • A new focus around cardiovascular disease and outcomes for brain bleed strokes;
  • A renewed focus on children’s services, including prevention and inequality; and
  • New objectives for reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities, rough sleepers and the homeless.

Matt Hancock MP, who became  Secretary of State for Health and Social Care earlier this month, also spoke about investment  in community pharmacies to help people stay out of hospitals.

Mr Hancock made the comments during his first speech in his new role at West Suffolk Hospital. Setting out his ambition to make the NHS “the most advanced health system in the world”, he also pledged £487 million to transform technology in hospitals and help them to put in place electronics systems that save money and reduce medication errors.

Mr Hancock said that the NHS needs to take more of a holistic approach to prevention and “to make the investment in primary care and community pharmacies so people don’t need to go to hospital”. He also spoke of the need to stop the prescribing of unsophisticated drugs and instead wants to move towards new approaches, such as social prescribing.

Embracing electronic systems and technological innovations are key to Mr Hancock’s vision for the future of the health service. He said he wanted to work together with healthcare professionals to seize the opportunities of new technology.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“We are pleased to hear the new Secretary of State acknowledging the need for investment in community pharmacies so that they can do more to help ease pressure on hospitals. This is in line with PSNC’s ambitions – pharmacies are ideally placed to help people to stay healthy and avoid visits to hospital. We look forward to working with Government to make this shared vision a reality for the benefit of patients and the NHS.”

This was discussed at PSNC’s July 2018 meeting. A summary of all the topics discussed at that meeting is available here.



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