Will goals be achievable?
NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has identified mental health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, children’s services and health inequalities as the top priorities for the NHS 10-year plan, which will be unveiled in the autumn.
He wants an overhaul of cancer screening services but said reforming early diagnosis and intervention will depend on the NHS workforce over a 10-year time frame.
Improvements to mental health services, especially for children and young people, could take longer than five years because of a lack of staff, he said, even if work in schools proved successful.
He also wants new objectives for reducing health inequalities, focusing on people with learning disabilities, rough sleepers and the homeless. He said the NHS needs to look at barriers to early cancer diagnosis due to race, gender, cultural and socio-economic reasons.
There is growing evidence the NHS has ‘ground to catch up’ on outcomes for brain bleed strokes, claimed Mr Stevens. And he wants to see a new focus around stroke and heart attacks.
He questioned whether the current four-hour emergency department and the 18-week elective treatment waiting times were fit for purpose.
The new Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, should carry on Mr Hunt’s lobbying for a social care funding deal, said Mr Stevens, and his championing of patient safety.
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