Preventing ill health is the focus of the NHS’ new 10-year plan that aims to save up to 500,000 lives. The plans will give particular attention to smokers and drinkers, providing them with the support they need to quit, and reduce the risk of developing serious or fatal health conditions. It’s hoped that these measures will ease the pressure on the NHS, and ensure that more funding is given to GP, community care and mental health services to help move the focus away from hospitals.
The NHS’ long-term plan
This week, the Prime Minister Theresa May, and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced the launch of a new 10-year plan for the NHS, which aims to secure an additional £20bn for its budget by 2023. Of that, £4.5bn will be given to GP and community care that will be used to provide further support for patients in the community to help them get discharged from hospitals sooner. Patients will also be able to access their services digitally, providing appointment booking, remote monitoring and other services that will ease some of the strain on GP practices.
One of the most significant elements of the plan is the emphasis on preventing illnesses through tackling social problems and promoting healthy living. This will include helping those who are smokers and drinkers to cut down or give up so that the pressure put on the health service as a result of these behaviours can be reduced.
Helping smokers and drinkers to quit or cut down
Smoking and drinking are two of the biggest contributors to ill health or early death, making it an important area of focus for health officials. Patients admitted to hospital who are smokers or problem drinkers will be provided with advice and support to help them cut down or give up to help them stay healthier and fitter for longer.
It’s estimated that alcohol-related harm costs £3.5bn a year for the NHS. Schemes have already been trialled in several areas to help people to reduce their alcohol consumption. All smokers who are admitted to hospital, including pregnant women and their partners, will be provided with support to help them quit.
With smoking and heavy alcohol consumption leading to a higher risk of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, strokes and other health issues, the move could help cut down the number of people diagnosed with these conditions each year and free up hospitals for those with other needs.
Support for smokers and problem drinkers
If you’d like to give up smoking and quit/cut down on drinking alcohol, then the good news is that there is a lot of help and support out there for you. Giving up alcohol could contribute to a healthier life, helping you to lose weight and keep your heart and liver healthy. In East Berkshire there are several alcohol support services available to help you cut back and get treatment for addiction.
Meanwhile, your local GP is on hand to help you to give up smoking, in addition to the NHS One You app which also has resources for helping you to quit. Quitting with support is much easier than going it alone, and many of the quit smoking resources available provide helpful advice and tips.
If you’re concerned about your health and want to make some positive changes, cutting back on alcohol and giving up smoking are two of the best things you can do to improve it. Make this the year you focus on a healthier you to enjoy a better future for yourself, as well as the NHS.