NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and Prime Minister Theresa May will launch the 10-year plan later today.

NHS long-term plan: Key focus on improving digital access to services

By Leontina Postelnicu
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A blueprint that will be published by NHS leaders later today could help save up to half a million more lives in England through a "renewed" focus on prevention, cutting edge treatments, and the use of new forms of technology, NHS England has said.

The development of a long-term plan follows a five-year funding settlement unveiled by Prime Minister Theresa May last year, with the NHS set to receive increased funding of £20.5bn per year in real terms by 2023-24. The additional funding applies to NHS England's budget and not the wider health budget.

The Prime Minister said its publication this week marked a "historic step" in securing the future of the NHS. The blueprint covers the NHS in England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will reportedly develop their own plans.

Measures include opening a “digital ‘front door’ to the health service”, leveraging the potential of AI to help over 100,000 more people get access to “new, better” stroke care services, and investing in earlier detection.

According to NHS England, the plan will also see the NHS offer whole genome sequencing for children with cancer, young people with a rare genetic disorder and adults suffering from certain rare conditions or specific cancers.

"Our challenge now is to make sure it's properly implemented"

An announcement from Number 10 released yesterday (6 January) indicates that key priorities include improving access to digital services, maternity care, outcomes for major conditions, cutting waste, addressing the workforce shortage and “supporting ageing and increasing independence”.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the 10-year plan provided “a practical, costed, phased route map for the NHS’s priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead”.

Professor Carrie MacEwen, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, welcomed its launch.

“It’s good to have a plan which sets a clear direction for the NHS and tackles many of the issues the Academy has long been saying need to be addressed if we are to improve patient care,” Professor MacEwen said. 

“Our challenge now is to make sure it’s properly implemented and in this regard we, that is everyone who works in the NHS and patients who use the service, must all play our part if we are to make it a success.”

Twitter: @1Leontina
Contact the author: lpostelnicu@himss.org