The Health Secretary claims patients need to “take greater responsibility for managing their own health”.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has called on patients to have greater responsibility for their own health in the launch of new a green paper entitled ‘Prevention is better than cure’ which outlines a vision for a “new 21st-century focus on prevention“.
Mr. Hancock will say in his speech at the International Association of National Public Health Institutes: “Prevention is also about ensuring people take greater responsibility for managing their own health.
“It’s about people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking. Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat.
Mr. Hancock insists it is not about “patronising” patients, “It’s about helping them make better choices, giving them the all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy.”
“In the UK, we are spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it across the UK”.
“You don’t have to be an economist to see those numbers don’t stack up.”
Cuts will make implementation difficult.
Helen Donovan, Professional Lead for Public Health at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We welcome the fact that the Health Secretary is making prevention a priority, and clearly recognises that a focus on public health will keep people healthier for longer and save the NHS money and resources in the long run.
“But Matt Hancock must realise his plans will start at a disadvantage as local authorities struggle with planned cuts to public health budgets of almost four per cent per year until 2021. While it’s clear he sees that prevention isn’t an optional extra, we need to see properly funded, accountable services delivered by a fully staffed nursing workforce backed by adequate resources. Disadvantaged areas emerge worse off without these vital services with life expectancy and the poorest bear the brunt of underinvestment in public health.”
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “The Tories have imposed swingeing cuts to public health services, slashing vital prevention support such as smoking cessation services, sexual health services, substance misuse services and obesity help.
“In local communities, years of cuts and failed privatisation have resulted in health visitor and school nurse numbers falling, whilst children are losing out on the key early years health interventions they need.
“Many of the aims announced today are laudable but the reality is currently a further £1bn worth of cuts to health services including public health are set to be imposed by this Government next year.”