Long-term plan for NHS in England ‘a significant and welcome step’

NHS England today launched its ten-year plan for the health service, which included a number of significant measures in the fight against heart and circulatory diseases in England.

The chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens has set out a number of measures that he says will help prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases over the next decade.

Meanwhile, more than three million people will benefit from new and improved stroke, respiratory and cardiac services over the next decade, according to NHS England.

The plan also laid out a number of other measures, including the provision of genetic testing for a quarter of people with inherited high cholesterol, which NHS England say will reach around 30,000 people. In addition, the plan aims to provide the best stroke care in Europe, ensuring patients receive cutting-edge scans and treatment, and also the potential use of artificial intelligence.

The plan also aims to prevent around 23,000 premature deaths and 50,000 hospital admissions over the ten years by putting over 100,000 patients with heart problems through a healthy living and exercise programme every year.

‘A practical, costed, phased route map’

Talking about the launch of the plan, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens 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 a 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, cost, phased route map for the NHS’s priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead.”

‘A significant and welcome step’

Commenting on NHS England’s long-term plan, Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation said:

“This plan is a welcome and significant step in the fight against heart and circulatory diseases, which promises to save thousands of lives in the coming years. Heart attacks and strokes continue to take a huge toll on the nation’s health. Progress in reducing death rates has stalled in recent years, and we need radical action to continue to reduce avoidable premature deaths and years of disability.

“Our figures show that millions of people are currently at unnecessarily high risk of a heart attack or stroke due to poor diagnosis rates for high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and atrial fibrillation. The plan’s strong focus on improving prevention and detection of heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors has the potential to make a huge difference, ensuring that deaths rates fall further in the future.

“The plan’s aim of improving uptake of cardiac rehabilitation will transform the lives of thousands of people, and better care and support for people living with heart failure will significantly improve quality of life for many.

“It’s now essential that a detailed implementation programme is produced, and that work gets underway on making this transformational plan a reality.”