Prevention green paper will ‘focus on communities’

26 Feb 19

Communities will be “at the heart” of the government’s prevention green paper, the health secretary has said.

Matt Hancock said the NHS long-term plan has “elements” in it that highlight the role communities and local government will play in prevention, but that further detail will come through the prevention green paper out later this year.

Speaking at the New Local Government Network think-tank’s annual conference, Hancock said he is “working closely with partners in local government” to define the role councils can play in shifting health care towards preventative measures.

In November 2018, Hancock announced his vision for a shift towards prevention in health and social care, which looks to move the focus towards primary and community care services.

He told delegates that integration of the health and social care systems is “crucial” to this shift.

“We need to make sure that the system is properly supported, but that’s not just about money, it’s about integration,” he said.

Audience members raised concerns that the NHS long-term plan, released in January, had little detail on the role of local authorities.

Hancock said: “In the NHS long-term plan there are elements that indicate it’s links, but communities will be at the heart of the prevention green paper.”

The date has not yet been set for the prevention green paper to be released, but the health secretary said he plans to produce it before the Spending Review, adding: “We want it to inform that [the Spending Review]”.

The aims of Hancock’s prevention green paper include getting more disabled people into work, increasing mental health services for pregnant women, halving childhood obesity and reducing loneliness and isolation.

The former secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport noted that some £650m was put into social care last year.

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