Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Alcohol care teams to be introduced under NHS Long Term Plan

Theresa May says new 10-year NHS plan will stop 'slipping' targets NHS 10-year plan launched in bid to save 500000 lives
Johnnie Parks | 09 January, 2019, 23:12

As part of a plan to "boost "out-of-hospital" care", NHS England will fund "expanded community multidisciplinary teams", including pharmacists, Global Positioning System and "allied health professionals", it said.

They also claim 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases will be prevented and promise three million people will benefit from improved stroke, respiratory and cardiac services.

"A key focus of the technology and digital agenda, as with the plan overall, is allowing patients to better manage their own health and care".

It will set out the priorities for a 3.4% five-year funding increase announced by Mrs May in June.

Speaking on LBC, the health secretary said that the NHS would be "stronger" after Brexit "not least because we're putting all this extra money into it".

In an effort to "improve the effectiveness" of public health approaches, such as NHS health checks, NHS England will work with community pharmacists, voluntary sector partners and Global Positioning System to test patients for "high-risk conditions", such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and atrial fibrillation, it said in the document.

NHS England chief Simon Stevens said the plan also "tackles head on" the pressures faced by health staff.

It is good to see an NHS plan that looks beyond the political cycle and towards what is best for the health of our nation. The NHS said that their intention to identify people with irregular heartbeat and blood pressure issues and offer them timely treatment would prevent formation of unsafe blood clots in the future that are precursors for heart and brain strokes.

We will improve how the NHS cares for children and young people with learning disabilities and autism by reducing inappropriate hospitalisation, reducing over medicalisation, and providing quality care in the community.

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The BMA eagerly awaits the publication of the green paper on social care this year which must fully align with the long-term plan for the NHS.

But shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said "the Tories have spent nine years running down the NHS, imposing the biggest cash squeeze in its history" and now "need 10 years to clear up the mess they have made".

The aspirations of the plan have been broadly welcomed, but professional bodies and unions have questioned whether the new money is enough, and the lack of detail on how a staffing crisis that has left 100,000 vacant posts will be tackled.

'Ambition needs to be tempered with realism about the deep-seated difficulties facing the NHS and social care and the time needed to address them, ' Chris Ham, former chief executive at the Fund, and Richard Murray, the current chief executive, wrote on the report.

And after the best part of a decade of austerity, there's a lot of catching up to be done - both in terms of performance against the main NHS targets, and finance.

As part of the initiative, expert teams will work in up to 50 hospitals across the country to deliver alcohol checks and provide access to healthcare within 24 hours if problems are found - including counselling, medically assisted help to give up alcohol and support to help abstain from drink.

Observers would be hard-pressed to argue with the aims - most people have experienced first hand the frustrations of a practitioner that can't access certain records and the NHS's much-hyped reliance on fax machines attests to the legacy kit still in use today.

Cancer Research warned that progress against the disease could be hampered by staff shortages.

In common with wider society, the NHS has changed dramatically over the last 70 years. "While there are initiatives in the plan to build the workforce, they need to be matched with action from central government to secure training budgets and a supportive migration policy to allow worldwide recruitment that is vital to staffing the NHS". Only half of cancer patients are diagnosed by this stage at present.

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