Today sees the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, which sets out the health service’s vision for the next 10 years, as well as its ambition to save almost half a million lives through practical action and investment in cutting edge treatments.

The blueprint to make the NHS fit for the future will combine the latest technology, such as digital GP consultations, with a renewed focus on prevention and early detection, which will prevent 85,000 people from dying prematurely each year.

Elsewhere, other pledges included in the plan will prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases, while major improvements earmarked for stroke, respiratory and cardiac services will also bring benefits to around three million people between now and 2029.  

There will be improvements in neonatal care, to help little ones get the best start in life, and more integrated support to help older people live longer, more independent lives.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “The NHS has been marking its 70th anniversary and the national debate has rightly centred on three big truths.

“There’s been pride in our health service’s enduring success, and in the shared social commitment it represents. There’s been concern – about funding, staffing, increasing inequalities and pressures from a growing and ageing population. And there’s also been legitimate optimism – about the possibilities for continuing medical advance and better outcomes of care.

“In looking ahead to the Health Service’s 80th birthday, this NHS Long Term Plan acts on all three of these realities. It keeps all that’s good about our health service and its place in our national life. It tackles head-on the pressures our staff face. And it sets a practical, costed, phased route map for the NHS’ priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead.”

The plan marks the first time in the 70 year history of the NHS that investment in primary, community and mental health care will grow faster than the growing overall NHS budget.

This will fund a new £4.5 billion service model for the 21st century across England, in which health bodies come together to provide better, joined up care in partnership with local government.

The commitment to tackle major physical conditions comes alongside the biggest ever investment in mental health services.

Under the Long Term Plan, around two million more people who suffer anxiety, depression or other problems will receive help over the next.

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 around 30,000 people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol
  • Give mental health help to 345,000 more children and young people through the expansion of community based services
  • Use cutting edge scans and technology, including the potential use of artificial intelligence, to help provide the best stroke care in Europe with more than 100,000 people each year accessing new and better services
  • Invest in earlier detection and better treatments – such as smart inhalers – for people with respiratory conditions
  • Ensure every hospital with a major Emergency Department has ‘same day emergency care’ in place so patients can be treated and discharged with the right package of support, without needing an overnight stay.

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, said: “At the heart of the NHS are hard-working staff who pull out all the stops to care for patients every day. 

“It is thanks to their dedication that the NHS is admired around the world and that it has taken great strides over the last seven decades.

“We need to build on these achievements and make the best use of the new investment to fundamentally reset how the NHS is run so that our growing and ageing population can get the right care at the right time and in the right place.”

Find out more

The NHS Long Term Plan can be read in full by clicking here.

For those who are short on time, a two-page summary version of the plan can be read by clicking here.