Health and care leaders have come together to develop a Long Term Plan to make the NHS fit for the future, and to get the most value for patients out of every pound of taxpayers’ investment.
Their plan has been drawn up by those who know the NHS best, including frontline health and care staff, patient groups and other experts. And they have benefited from hearing a wide range of views, whether through the 200 events that have taken place, and or the 2,500 submissions we received from individuals and groups representing the opinions and interests of 3.5 million people.
This summary sets out the key things you can expect to see and hear about over the next few months and years, as local NHS organisations work with their partners to turn the ambitions in the plan into improvements in services in every part of England.
What the NHS Long Term Plan will deliver for patients
These are just some of the ways that we want to improve care for patients over the next ten years:
Making sure everyone gets the best start in life
reducing stillbirths and mother and child deaths during birth by 50%
ensuring most women can benefit from continuity of carer through and beyond their pregnancy, targeted towards those who will benefit most
providing extra support for expectant mothers at risk of premature birth
expanding support for perinatal mental health conditions
taking further action on childhood obesity
increasing funding for children and young people’s mental health
bringing down waiting times for autism assessments
providing the right care for children with a learning disability
delivering the best treatments available for children with cancer, including CAR-T and proton beam therapy.
Delivering world-class care for major health problems
preventing 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases
providing education and exercise programmes to tens of thousands more patients with heart problems, preventing up to 14,000 premature deaths
saving 55,000 more lives a year by diagnosing more cancers early
investing in spotting and treating lung conditions early to prevent 80,000 stays in hospital
spending at least £2.3bn more a year on mental health care
helping 380,000 more people get therapy for depression and anxiety by 2023/24
delivering community-based physical and mental care for 370,000 people with severe mental illness a year by 2023/24.
Supporting people to age well
increasing funding for primary and community care by at least £4.5bn
bringing together different professionals to coordinate care better
helping more people to live independently at home for longer
developing more rapid community response teams to prevent unnecessary hospital spells, and speed up discharges home.
upgrading NHS staff support to people living in care homes.
improving the recognition of carers and support they receive
making further progress on care for people with dementia
giving more people more say about the care they receive and where they receive it, particularly towards the end of their lives.
How we will deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan
To ensure that the NHS can achieve the ambitious improvements we want to see for patients over the next ten years, the NHS Long Term Plan also sets out how we think we can overcome the challenges that the NHS faces, such as staff shortages and growing demand for services, by:
Doing things differently: we will give people more control over their own health and the care they receive, encourage more collaboration between GPs, their teams and community services, as ‘primary care networks’, to increase the services they can provide jointly, and increase the focus on NHS organisations working with their local partners, as ‘Integrated Care Systems’, to plan and deliver services which meet the needs of their communities.
Preventing illness and tackling health inequalities: the NHS will increase its contribution to tackling some of the most significant causes of ill health, including new action to help people stop smoking, overcome drinking problems and avoid Type 2 diabetes, with a particular focus on the communities and groups of people most affected by these problems.
Backing our workforce: we will continue to increase the NHS workforce, training and recruiting more professionals – including thousands more clinical placements for undergraduate nurses, hundreds more medical school places, and more routes into the NHS such as apprenticeships. We will also make the NHS a better place to work, so more staff stay in the NHS and feel able to make better use of their skills and experience for patients.
Making better use of data and digital technology: we will provide more convenient access to services and health information for patients, with the new NHS App as a digital ‘front door’, better access to digital tools and patient records for staff, and improvements to the planning and delivery of services based on the analysis of patient and population data.
Getting the most out of taxpayers’ investment in the NHS: we will continue working with doctors and other health professionals to identify ways to reduce duplication in how clinical services are delivered, make better use of the NHS’ combined buying power to get commonly-used products for cheaper, and reduce spend on administration.
What happens next
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), which are groups of local NHS organisations working together with each other, local councils and other partners, now need to develop and implement their own strategies for the next five years.
These strategies will set out how they intend to take the ambitions that the NHS Long Term Plan details, and work together to turn them into local action to improve services and the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve – building on the work they have already been doing.
This means that over the next few months, whether you are NHS staff, a patient or a member of the public, you will have the opportunity to help shape what the NHS Long Term Plan means for your area, and how the services you use or work in need to change and improve.
January 2019, Publication of the NHS Long Term Plan
By April 2019, Publication of local plans for 2019/20
By Autumn 2019, Publication of local five-year plans
To help with this, they will work with local Healthwatch groups to support NHS teams in ensuring that the views of patients and the public are heard, and Age UK will be leading work with other charities to provide extra opportunities to hear from people with specific needs or concerns.
Find out more
More information is available at www.longtermplan.nhs.uk, and your local NHS teams will soon be sharing details of what it may mean in your area, and how you can help shape their plans.