Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s
21 October 2019
The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) welcomes the publication of the Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s consultation.
This is a much needed and ambitious plan and the QNI welcomes the focus on prevention and proactive working. For this to succeed, a commitment to developing a skilled and knowledgeable community nursing workforce with specialist expertise is required. The community health service must have the capacity to support individuals, families and carers to live well from birth through to old age and death in their homes and local communities.
The QNI actively promotes personalised care where people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered and that takes account of what matters to them as individuals. Giving people a voice and integrating services around the individual, including health, social care, public health and utilising wider community assets, is of prime importance.
The QNI also supports a sustainable and growing network of health care practitioners who work in the specialist area of inclusion health. This plan needs to address health inequalities, so that people who experience poor health outcomes and find it difficult to access health care are able to do so easily and without prejudice.
From NHS England NHS Improvement:
The consultation positions the 2020s as the decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention and seeks views as to how we ensure that this is brought about through new technologies, data and enabling people to be co-creators of their own health. The big overarching challenge around prevention is to secure up to 5 additional health years by 2035, so moving emphasis from how long we live to how well we live. There’s a real emphasis on joint working across government, across the health system as a whole and that this approach is in tandem with working with communities and individuals.
The green paper discusses:
- the opportunities afforded by personalised prevention based on use of date and genomic medicine.
- the challenges we face in relation to smoking, obesity, inactivity and mental health
- the need to establish the foundations of good health including a focus on early years and the wider environmental determinants of ill-health.
The Long-Term Plan set out our own emphasis on prevention within the heath service and the green paper references the plan throughout including our commitments around mental health obesity, smoking, alcohol and inequality. A few of the highlights for nursing include:
- The benefits of a move towards personalised and precise genomic medicine illustrate what’s at stake as we work to secure investment in CPD. A skilled workforce being key to green paper’s ambition to embed ‘genomics in routine healthcare and make the UK home to the genomic revolution that’s on the horizon’.
- There is a strong emphasis of the role of employers in healthy places. How will we view our own response to this challenge as we assess what will be put in place through the ‘best place to work’ activity.
- There is an interesting commitment for DHSC to provide £1 million for the Office for Students to run a competition that will drive innovation in the way university students are supported with their mental health, including digital solutions. Possible opportunities here to align Repair activity and how we can best support our nursing students.
- There is also a section on sleep and how insufficient sleep is a risk factor in physical and mental health problems. A proposal we’ll be involved with is looking at how we ensure patients get the sleep and rest the need in hospitals. This, in particular, has been picked up by the Nursing Times
- Community safety remains a key element of prevention. A public health approach to knife-crime is covered but the green paper hints at an approach focused on organisations rather than professionals as had been reported in the spring.
- The green paper referred to expanding PHE’s capacity to project and model the impact of future trends in health, building on the foundation of its existing work to publish an annual Health Profile for England.