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NHS long-term plan: Focus on prevention ‘could save 500,000 lives’

NHS bosses in England say a new 10-year plan could save up to 500,000 lives by focusing on prevention and early detection.

GPs, mental health and community care will get the biggest funding increases to shift the focus away from hospitals.

Prime Minister Theresa May said it was about “reshaping the NHS around the changing needs of patients”.

But unions are concerned that staffing shortages could undermine the ambitions – one in 11 posts are currently vacant.

And some senior doctors warned hospitals were facing a “near-on impossible task.”

Society of Acute Medicine president Dr Nick Scriven said he was “staggered” by the plans given the problems facing hospitals.

Many trusts are missing all three key waiting time targets for A&E, cancer care and routine operations, and are struggling to balance the books.

What will the NHS spend the money on?

  • Mental health support in schools and 24-hour access to mental health crisis care via the NHS 111 service
  • Extra support in the community so patients can be discharged quickly from hospital and reduce the number of outpatient appointments by a third
  • Digital access to health services, including online GP booking and remote monitoring of conditions such as high blood pressure
  • More social prescribing to give GPs a range of options to tackle social problems like loneliness through connecting people to activities such as choirs and arts groups
  • Healthy living programmes for patients struggling with ill-health
  • New testing centres for cancer patients to ensure earlier diagnosis
  • DNA testing for children with cancer and those with rare genetic disorders to help select the best treatment

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