NHS money is wasted on preventable diseases

An eighth of the NHS drugs budget is spent on treating diabetes, with nine out of ten cases being fueled by excess weight.

Mr Javid also promised reforms to the management of hospitals and GP services, with “partnerships” formed between top NHS trusts and those whose performance was struggling.

He said it was time for health to “embrace the revolutions that have already taken place in banking and shopping”, saying the NHS app would be at the heart of the changes.

“It should be easy for doctors and patients to order blood tests like ordering a burger or a salad over the phone,” he said.

Together we can revolutionize the NHS, through individual responsibility

By Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary

When the NHS was launched in 1948, the first NHS brochure that landed on people’s doorsteps said of the new health service: ‘It’s not a charity. You pay for it, mainly as taxpayers”. We certainly pay for it. This year, the NHS will spend its initial 1948 budget, adjusted for inflation, once a month. Our health budget is now greater than Greece’s GDP.

Healthcare needs the revolution that has already happened in other sectors like banking and commerce. With much greater choice for patients, innovation, technology and AI – which means more convenience, lower costs and reduced health disparities.

On Tuesday, in a speech to the Royal College of Physicians, I argued for a comprehensive reform agenda because we cannot keep pumping more and more money into healthcare. My vision for reform will begin what will be one of the most significant transfers of power and funding from the state to individuals and their families in decades.

As a curator, I’m a firm believer in individual responsibility, which is why we need to do a lot more about prevention and personalization. The NHS spends huge sums to treat people whose conditions are preventable, and by some estimates 40% of its costs are spent on treating preventable conditions. Tackling this problem is the only way to reduce the demand on the health service and the state in the long term.

This means helping the whole population stay healthy, not just treating those who show up for help. We will put the full power of the NHS behind prevention – including the NHS budget. We must also continue to embrace new approaches to health and care, such as our network of community diagnostic centres, which are helping millions of patients receive earlier diagnoses closer to home, without ever having to put the feet in a hospital.

This includes making the most of the huge digital adoption we’ve seen throughout the pandemic. Over half of adults in England now carry the NHS app in their pockets – I want to increase this number, so we can use the app, and other tools like this, to give people advice personalized to manage their own health.

We know that when health care is personalized, built around the person and their family, it works best. My dad was a smoker and I remember standing at the top of the stairs and hearing my mom confronting him saying, “If you die, your boys won’t have a dad.”. He never smoked again.

We all need more power to determine our own health, and I want to empower patients and their loved ones.

I know people really appreciate the freedom and choice that comes with personalized care and personal budgets that give patients and their families more control and choice. Although our current goal is for 200,000 people to have a personal health budget by 2024, I want to see a significant expansion of this budget in the years to come.

Personalization is also about recognizing that the NHS is not just an end in itself, it is a service for everyone who depends on it. We will therefore ensure that the voices of patients and their families are heard at all times, and not just when things go wrong.

We will offer patients “the right to choose”

In addition to a greater voice, we also need to provide greater choice. I know one area of ​​frustration has been the long waits, due to the backlog Covid has caused. We will introduce a new offering, giving patients who have been waiting for a long time the “right to choose” – with those patients being proactively contacted to discuss alternatives. This can be a nearby trust, a more distant trust – with help with transport and accommodation – or going to the independent sector for treatment.

Prevention and personalization will put our health service on a stronger and more sustainable footing in the future, but improving performance across the NHS itself must start now.

In some areas, such as affordable drugs and accessible care, our delivery is among the best in the world. But if we’re honest, in other areas – like cancer survivorship, cardiovascular disease and maternal health outcomes – we all know the NHS needs to do better.

We will build on the digital transformation we have seen throughout the pandemic and ensure that innovative solutions do not stay where they are, but go far. That’s why I want to explore what NHS trusts can do working in partnership for reform, what they could do with more freedoms, and how we can help them share the brilliant work they do.

These plans mark the starting point of reform, not the sum total, but they show how we will seize the moment to keep the 1948 dream alive. The shock of Covid and the urgent need for recovery have brought us to this crossroads at this moment. We have a unique chance to reinvent the way we do health – seize it.

About Miley Sawngett

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