‘THE NHS long term plan is as much about prevention, and early diagnosis, as treatment and recovery,’ PM May said speaking on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday.
One of the key focuses of May’s NHS 10-year plan which is launched today is prevention. ‘So prevention is part of what we are looking at within the NHS,’ May said, reiterating her plan to move the onus on to prevention rather than cure.
Or in other words shifting responsibility onto patients to keep healthy rather than a responsibility to treat them. Hand in hand with this, a taskforce has just been created which will question patients on their drinking, smoking and lifestyle habits.
Teams will be sent into 50 hospitals to target patients who drink and smoke and attempt to force them to quit. BMA member Anna Athow said yesterday in response: ‘The Prime Minister’s strategy for the NHS is to insist that the patient is responsible for addressing their own health problems themselves.
‘Teams will be sent into hospitals to persuade smokers and excess drinkers and eaters to “do everything they can to stay healthy” and not place demands on the NHS.
‘This onus on the patients to treat themselves is said to be a new development.
‘However, this so-called “prevention” was a key plank of the ‘Five-Year Forward View’ of NHS England (October 2014).
‘Since that time billions of pounds of cuts have been made to the health service, especially affecting Public Health services now provided by local authorities. Smoking cessation clinics and care and help for those with alcohol and drug addiction, not to mention sexual health services, have been cut to the bone.
‘The Tories’ message to patients is: “You are on your own.” ‘It is another warning that NHS services for obesity, and medical problems related to smoking and drinking alcohol, will be withdrawn as laid out in a new “Handbook to the NHS Constitution”.
‘This is a blueprint for a massive ramping up of denial of NHS care. Be warned!’
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: ‘The Tories have been running down the NHS for nine years, starving it of cash, cutting it back, privatising elements of it, failing to get the staff we need. ‘Now Theresa May is saying that we need a ten-year plan to clear up the mess she has made. This doesn’t need ten more years of the Tories, it needs a Labour government to save the NHS.’
Dave Wiltshire, Secretary of the All Trade Union Alliance said: ‘The trade unions must take action! This Tory government, by moving the onus onto prevention rather than cure is attempting to smash up the NHS. ‘All health unions, backed with the entire strength of the trade union movement must be called out by the TUC in a general strike to bring this government down!’