The NHS Long-term plan published on Monday, January 7th includes extensive commitments to research.
The Plan sets out how the £20.5bn annual budget increase promised by prime minister Theresa May will be spent, and sets out priorities and targets for the service for the next ten years. A big focus will be on prevention and early detection of illness and disease with a view to taking pressure off hospital services.
Other big priorities for the Service include mental health and obesity, with GPs, mental health and community care receiving investment that will grow faster than the rest of the overall NHS budget.
The NHS Long Term Plan will also:
- Open a digital ‘front door’ to the health service, allowing patients to be able to access health care at the touch of a button
- Provide genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, reaching around 30,000 people
- Give mental health help to 345,000 more children and young people through the expansion of community based services, including in schools
- Use cutting edge scans and technology, including the potential use of artificial intelligence, to help provide the best stroke care in Europe with over 100,000 more people each year accessing new, better services
- Invest in earlier detection and better treatment of respiratory conditions to prevent 80,000 hospital admissions and smart inhalers will be piloted so patients can easily monitor their condition, regardless of where they are
- Ensure every hospital with a major A&E department has ‘same day emergency care’ in place so that patients can be treated and discharged with the right package of support, without needing an overnight stay.
It includes a section highlighting the role of research and innovation in enabling breakthroughs, prevention of illness, earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments, better outcomes and faster recovery. Some measures relating to research in the plan include:
- NHS endorsement of recently announced Life Sciences Sector deal and recognition that research and innovation are important for patients and the UK economy
- Increasing the number of people registering to participate in health research to one million by 2023/24
- A commitment to innovation and ensuring it reaches patients faster with a simpler, clearer system for drugs, medtech and digital uptake
In an effort to strengthen the ability of patients, professionals and the public to contribute to improving the Service an NHS Assembly will be established in early 2019. The Assembly, consisting of national clinical, patient and staff organisations; the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector; the NHS Arm’s length bodies (ALBs); and frontline leaders from ICSs, STPs, trusts, CCGs and local authorities will advise the boards of NHS England and NHS Improvement as part of the ‘guiding coalition’ to implement this Long Term Plan.
Read reactions to, and summaries of the plan from vaious organisations
Healthy London Partnership;
Association of Medical Research Charities