RCoA responds to the government's green paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’

In response to the government's green paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said:

“The Royal College of Anaesthetists welcomes the government’s green paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’. In recent years, the NHS has moved away from a system built around prevention to instead focus its efforts on immediate, acute demand – this green paper is a chance to rebalance this and return the NHS from an illness to a wellness service.

“The commitments outlined, combined with those in NHS England’s Long-Term Plan, recognise the vital role the NHS has to play in reducing health inequalities and tackling obesity, smoking and alcohol intake. We look forward to supporting the government in its efforts to deliver greater emphasis on the role of secondary care providers in population health and prevention.

“One way it can do this is through the development of perioperative care – the integrated care of patients from the moment surgery is contemplated through to full recovery. By empowering the millions of patients undertaking a surgical procedure every year to adopt healthier lifestyles and change behaviour ahead of their operation, the NHS can improve patient care and the health of populations, while reducing health care costs.

“We welcome the government’s ambitious targets to end smoking and halve childhood obesity by 2030.  If government is to reach its aim of boosting life expectancy and decreasing health inequality, it needs to go further than individual policies, but work to embed prevention in system-wide measures. This will facilitate greater collaboration between care settings, making the most of every opportunity to improve the lives of patients as they travel through care pathways.

“Finally, we hope that the government will reflect its prevention ambitions in the forthcoming Spending Review.

“We look forward to contributing to the consultation and to seeing the truly cohesive, preventative and people focused system outlined in NHS England’s Long Term Plan.” 

24 July 2019