NHS Long Term Plan will help bring health services closer to home

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has welcomed the publication of the NHS Long-Term Plan, saying that he supports and has argued for many of the plan’s goals.

NHS England bosses say the 10-year plan, published on Monday, could save up to 500,000 lives by focusing on prevention.

GPs, mental health and community care will get the biggest funding increases – totalling a third of the extra £20 billion the NHS will get in 2023 - as part of the aim of curbing the current reliance on hospital services.

In addition to this, the plan will aim to increase the use of cutting edge equipment, digital technology and even artificial intelligence to reduce the pressure on NHS staff and improve treatment outcomes.

This includes providing a digital ‘front door’ to the health service, allowing patients to be able to access health care at the touch of a button, provide genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, using cutting edge scans and technology, including the potential use of artificial intelligence, to help provide the best stroke care in Europe and using technology to provide earlier detection and better treatment of respiratory conditions.

The plan also recognizes that ambulance services are at the heart of the urgent and emergency care system and will implement the recommendations from Lord Carter’s recent report on operational productivity and performance in ambulance trusts, ensuring that ambulance services are able to offer the most clinically and operationally effective response.

The plan will also facilitate the ability of skilled paramedics to treat patients at home or in a more appropriate setting outside of hospital.

Mr Thomas says he believes that enacting the plan will make a big difference to people’s health.

“The main thrust of the plan is that prevention is better than cure – something I think we can all agree with,” he said.

“In West Cornwall, a great deal of excellent work has already been carried out by doctors and health professionals to ensure that health services are integrated, helping people get the appropriate care and treatment they need as close to home as possible.

“The extra funding promised for GPs and community care will just accelerate and benefit this process and I am particularly pleased that NHS England is placing a high priority on improving the ambulance service as there is nothing more frustrating than having ambulance staff being stuck outside an A&E department waiting to hand over a patient when they could be out helping other people in the community.”

Mr Thomas, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vascular and Venous Disease and has led a debate in Westminster on what can be done to accelerate access to new diabetes technologies said it was encouraging that NHS England plans to place a much greater emphasis on the use of digital and other technologies.

“Twelve months ago I hosted a conference on behalf of the NHS Confederation which attracted then Health Minister Philip Dunne as well as NHS trust chief executives and chairs and which argued that the full use of digital technology offers the way forward for patients,” he added.

“Digital innovation enables access to up-to-date accurate health records, improves management of long-term conditions and early diagnosis and also enables remote access to the best consultants, a major benefit for patients who live in rural areas like West Cornwall.”

You can view the plan here.