As many people will be aware, the Prime Minister recently announced the Government's intention to provide the NHS with an additional £20.5 billion by 2023/24. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. This investment is extremely welcome, and I hope you agree it demonstrates the Government's commitment to properly funding our NHS and public services.
The Government has asked the NHS to draw up a plan to secure the NHS for the long term, focusing on cutting waste and ensuring every penny is well spent. At its heart is the notion that prevention is better than cure, marking a clear shift towards our health service promoting good health, rather than just curing illness, while helping to place it on a sustainable footing for the long term. This is why the biggest uplift in spending will be an extra £4.5 billion for primary medical and community health services. On top of this, the LTP commits to improving detection rates; the introduction of more targeted screening and Rapid Access Diagnostic Centres is aimed to help 55,000 more people survive cancer each year, and 100,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases being prevented in 10 years’ time.
Mental health is also central to the LTP. Mental health services will receive an extra £2.3 billion, with a particular focus on children's and young people's mental health, giving 345,000 more children mental health support and giving more adults access to talking therapies.
The LTP will also provide funding for a larger, better supported health workforce by delivering improved training opportunities, better support and career progression, stronger leadership at all levels, and a clamp down on bullying and violence to improve retention. To deliver on these commitments the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked Baroness Dido Harding to chair a rapid programme to engage with staff, employers and stakeholders to build a workforce implementation plan that puts NHS people at the heart of NHS policy and delivery. Her final recommendations will come later this year as part of the broader Implementation Plan that will be developed at all levels to make the Long Term Plan a reality.
Over the next five years, as part of the LTP, the NHS is being given enough money to grow the amount of planned surgery year-on-year, to cut long waits and reduce the waiting list. The ability of patients to choose where they have their treatment remains a powerful tool for delivering improved waiting times and patient experiences of care. The NHS will continue to provide patients with a wide choice of options for quick elective care, including making use of available Independent Sector capacity. These steps come alongside measures to offer patients the choice of quick telephone or online consultations with their GP, saving time waiting and travelling.
As part of the LTP's vision to bring the NHS into the digital age and make it fit for the future, new digital GP services will improve access and help people make appointments, manage prescriptions and view their health records online. Technology will help people manage long-term conditions, while digital health records will help different parts of the health and care system work together to deliver the care at the right time, in the right place.
I am proud of the Government's recent record on the NHS. Despite difficult financial circumstances, NHS investment has increased every year since 2010, and I believe this new investment will help to secure the NHS for the future.