Prevention

A smiling man

The NHS Long Term Plan is our opportunity to not only treat people, but also prevent them from getting ill in the first place.

Every 24 hours, the NHS will care for over a million patients and their families.

Our NHS Long Term Plan aims to support people to live longer, healthier lives through helping them to make healthier lifestyle choices and treating avoidable illness early on.

We will maximise the opportunities that patient contact and hospital admissions bring to help people to improve their health.

We will fund new evidence-based NHS prevention programmes that focus on reducing smoking, obesity and alcohol intake. Our new services will help more people to stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight and make sure their alcohol intake is within a healthy limit.

What we will do

  • Make sure that everyone who has to stay overnight in hospital is given the chance and provided with help to stop smoking
  • Make sure that every pregnant woman is offered face-to-face support to help her stop smoking which will benefit not only her, but also her unborn child
  • Help people using outpatient services for conditions that are made worse by smoking (for example cancer) to quit smoking
  • Make sure that more people are able to access support to help control their diabetes
  • Support more people to attend weight management services, especially those who are obese and have another condition such as high blood pressure
  • Make sure that people admitted to hospital with alcohol related problems can be cared for by specialist Alcohol Care Teams
  • Continue to use antibiotics sensibly so that they are still available for future generations
  • Provide digital tools such as smartphone apps to enable more people to access online NHS services and support self-management.

Putting it into practice – Alcohol Care Teams

Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the NHS in England £3.5 billion every year.

An Alcohol Care Team (ACT) set up and trialed in Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals in early 2018.

An effective care pathway was established with the community alcohol service and after six months of the trial, the trust accepted the business case to fund the continuation of the ACT and the community service saw a reversal of its falling numbers in treatment.

Early data estimates a financial saving (due to admission prevention and reduced length of hospital stay) of £133,200 in the first six months.