This month we were struck by two reports which both set out visions to improve life expectancy rates in the UK, which have currently stalled, and also reduce health inequalities. The Department of Health and Social Care have published Prevention is better than cure: Our vision to help you live well for longer which sets out the ambition of putting prevention at the heart of the nation’s health. The report sets out why prevention matters and presents the prevention vision for those already living with a health and social care need, and how they can live well for longer.
The King’s Fund have published A vision for population health: towards a healthier future which also notes that prevention is key, but that the NHS remains primarily a treatment service. The report outlines the increasing importance of investment in prevention, public health and spending that supports population health. The challenge is where is the increased investment coming from?
As Anita Charlesworth at the Health Foundation has noted: “A funding increase of £20.5 billion per year to NHS England’s budget by 2023/24 is around 3.4%. This will help stem further decline in the health service, but it’s simply not enough to address the fundamental challenges facing the NHS, or fund essential improvements to services that are flagging.”
As 2019 approaches and the NHS turns 71, it faces increasingly complex and challenging decisions about how best to achieve its vision of delivering better services and supporting the public to achieve improved outcomes. We look forward to working with our clients in 2019, many of whom are grappling with these complex issues.