On the day briefing - The prevention green paper
The Department of Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office have published Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, a green paper setting out the case for change in the way we approach prevention, identifying key drivers of ill health including deprivation, inequalities, health-related behaviours such as smoking and physical inactivity, and mental health difficulties. Health is shaped by the services we receive, the choices we make, the conditions in which we live and our genetics.
The green paper commits to an approach which takes health as an asset, and as a foundation of thriving communities and a strong economy. It commits to moving away from a culture in which we take for granted good health, only paying attention to it when we experience health problems that we expect the NHS to fix. The green paper is accompanied by a consultation inviting views on the proposals and further measures to support prevention, and will be open for submissions until 14 October 2019. NHS Providers will canvass views from our membership and submit a response.
Some key points in the paper include:
- The green paper sets out a vision for prevention in which health is treated as an asset, and the population empowered to ‘co-create’ their own health. Many of the measures announced focus on personalisation, and addressing inequalities between the most and least deprived members of the population.
- The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will support prevention by embedding genomics in healthcare, expanding and modernising screening programmes, and taking a predictive approach to prevention to identify risks before they manifest in a personalised way.
- The NHS Long Term Plan has a key role to play in the wider approach to prevention, with measures such as expanding the diabetes prevention programme, introducing social prescribing and establishing alcohol care teams and support to stop smoking. There will be further support and advice for people to stay active including into old age.
- The green paper sets out ambitions to address the causes of ill health, and announces a 2030 smoke-free goal, action on childhood obesity, measures to improve food labelling, encouraging industry to reformulate foods and exploration of further levies on high sugar foods.
- The green paper addresses mental health as a key pillar of good health, and introduces a range of measures to support mental health in health services and schools, including a duty for schools to teach about mental health and campaigns to increase awareness of mental health.
- The government will explore ways of supporting the wider determinants of health, including supporting local authorities to incorporate health into planning of places and services, and improve access to green spaces.