If I’ve realized one factor since changing into Minister for Care it’s that the standard phrases and phrases we use to debate well being and care usually are not static phrases, however ones ripe for reinvention and reinterpretation. Take prevention for instance.
In a well being context, we have a tendency to think about it in purely medicinal or scientific phrases – capsules, potions and procedures to mitigate early signs and keep away from or delay the event of extra severe situations additional down the road.
There may be a lot extra to it than that. Prevention is as a lot concerning the type of communities we stay in, the life-style decisions we make, and the standard of care we obtain, as it’s the contents of our medication cupboards.
It’s about detection, intervention and entry to providers and actions that may assist keep and maintain our good well being.
As a lot of you’ll know, on assuming workplace, our Secretary of State Matt Hancock made prevention one his prime three well being and care priorities – and now he’s launched our division’s radical imaginative and prescient to advertise its wider adoption: ‘Prevention is better than cure’.
The imaginative and prescient serves the broader mission, as set out within the Prime Minister’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge, to assist individuals take pleasure in at the very least 5 further, wholesome, unbiased years of life by 2035, while narrowing the hole between the well being outcomes of the richest and poorest in society.
It units out objectives to assist individuals handle their bodily and psychological well being wants nearer to residence. It additionally goals to leverage the advantages of an built-in well being and social care system that delivers care in the precise place, on the proper time, and in ways in which respect particular person wants and desires.
As a part of a long-term funding settlement, the NHS funds will develop by over £20bn a yr in actual phrases by 2023 to 24. It’s an unimaginable alternative to dramatically shift the main target of well being and social care away from reactive or remedial providers and firmly in the direction of prevention.
With the latest imaginative and prescient, the SoS has made it clear that prevention is integral to our long-term plan for the NHS: we have to goal enhancements in our well being, not simply enhancements in our healthcare.
It’s not exhausting to see the logic, when the prize is extra well timed interventions, a more healthy inhabitants and a workforce with sufficient time and useful resource to give attention to care – and have extra time for their very own well being and wellbeing exterior work.
Group well being providers, already serving to a whole bunch of 1000’s of sufferers to obtain care in their very own properties, might be crucial to this endeavour. The truth is, I’ll go additional and say they’re the cornerstone for prevention.
Well being and care professionals on this area perceive that actually joined up care means reaching past statutory well being and care providers into the communities they serve: the broader net of care. It’s right here the place prevention should thrive as a objective and an consequence.
Group nursing offers a superb instance of this strategy. For instance, I used to be actually impressed that Frimley Well being in Surrey have partnered with their native fireplace service to assist determine weak individuals throughout fireplace security visits.
Having a district nursing crew collaborating and sharing data with the hearth service is prevention in motion – a mixed effort to determine and mitigate well being dangers. Good!
It’s not nearly bodily well being in fact. In my very own constituency, the Gosport Shed has supplied a supportive area for older males adjusting to retirement, experiencing bereavement, or dealing with bodily and psychological sickness, to come back collectively on a spread of group initiatives.
Since 2013, the shed’s existence has given them a renewed sense of function and belonging, serving to them fight social isolation, melancholy and maintaining them bodily lively and engaged in native life. It’s a win-win situation – they’re properly beloved for his or her nice work locally and one member instructed me that belonging to the group had actually saved his life.
Time and time once more, I’ve seen implausible examples of this strategy: of statutory and casual providers breaking down boundaries and dealing innovatively to satisfy the wants of their communities. That is what prevention ought to imply within the trendy period.
By doing this, we may help extra individuals keep away from GP appointments, encourage the independence of these needing care, and discover options to costly residential placements. Attendant to that is the massive potential for group providers to take a number of the burden away from A&E.
In fact, there’s a diploma of private duty connected to prevention and a duty to those that present care freed from cost – the unpaid carers taking care of household and mates and with out whom the remainder of the care and help system would merely collapse. We should get higher at caring for the carers. My Carers Action Plan, printed earlier this yr, units out 64 methods to do exactly that.
So, once I speak about native well being providers, once I champion the contribution of paid and casual carers, I actually imply it once I say group is the cornerstone of prevention. It’s the place good well being begins and the place it have to be nurtured and sustained if we’re to ship a well being and care service match for a lot of generations to come back.
Caroline Dinenage is Minister of State for Care on the Division of Well being and Social Care.
Discover out extra about the government’s vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation’s health. Read the collection of case studies, exhibiting examples of excellent apply in stopping well being issues from occurring.