Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the Government’s new NHS Long Term Plan, which was launched on 7th January.

This 10-year plan sets out what the NHS will do to get the most out of the additional £20.5 billion being injected into the system over the next five years, which will enable people to live healthier lives for longer. The plan also means that the 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 Plan 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.

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, given that they can help to treat people out of hospital, by keeping them healthy in the first place.

Some of the most important elements of the plan include:

  • 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 to 100,000 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 continue shaping local service plans, setting out how the Plan will be delivered across the country. The Plan is also supported by record levels of funding, which signals the Government’s determination to transform health and care for people at every stage in life. It demonstrates that the NHS is the Government’s 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.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“The NHS long term plan, backed by a historic commitment of an extra £20.5 billion a year from taxpayers, marks an important moment not just for the health service but for the lives of millions of patients and hardworking NHS staff across the country.

“Whether it’s treating ever more people in their communities, using the latest technology to tackle preventable diseases, or giving every baby the very best start in life, this government has given the NHS the multi-billion-pound investment needed to nurture and safeguard our nation’s health service for generations to come.”

Giles said:

“I know that this Government’s record investment of £20.5bn was warmly welcomed by my constituents, and I am pleased that the Government has set out how this funding will be delivered. I have no doubt that this transformative plan will be of great benefit to residents and our local health services and it is fantastic that this transformation will coincide with the £14.7 million investment in Clacton Hospital.”

You can read the plan here.