A response to the Secretary of State’s ‘Prevention is better than cure’ strategy
Yesterday marked the launch of the latest NHS long-term strategy which sets out the government’s vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation’s health.
Endorsing Patient Empowerment
Entitled “Prevention is better than cure”, the paper emphasises preventative healthcare and highlights a shift towards community care services and the value they can bring in offering early support.
The goal is to improve healthy life expectancy by at least 5 extra years, by 2035, and to close the gap between the richest and poorest by eradicating health inequality.
At the launch, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said “Prevention is about ensuring that people take greater responsibility for managing their own health. But focusing on the responsibilities of patients isn’t about penalising people. It’s about helping them make better choices, giving them the all the support we can because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy.”
Tackling the Root Cause
The paper also touches on adapting support to meet the needs of vulnerable groups – whether sleeping rough, leaving care, offenders out of prison or young people at risk of violence. Not only does this require partnership and better information sharing across the health and social service but it also involves tackling the root causes of health and social care problems, which often lie outside the NHS.
Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing has the potential to address such issues by seeking to address people’s needs in a holistic way and support individuals to take greater control of their own health.
Collaboration is Key
Collaboration and connecting all stakeholders is key for making social prescribing a success. Working with the patient, Link workers and health and social care professionals can refer individuals into community-based programmes and services suited to their particular needs. Evidence shows that social prescribing can reduce GP appointments by up to a fifth, emphasising the importance of tackling the cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.
Jennifer Neff, Elemental Co-Founder said “Elemental is passionate about bridging the gap between healthcare and communities in a shared vision that ensures that no one is left behind so the Secretary of State’s emphasis on improving health inequality and prevention is a welcome step. Social prescribing will prove instrumental in the implementation of this vision which puts people back in charge of their own health and promotes the health of the whole individual.”
Why We're Backing the Bid to Empower People and Boost Self-Care
In his strategy, Matt Hancock put emphasis on the changing role of patients towards increased self-responsibility and creating a culture of self-care. We’re fully behind this bid to empower patients as this is one of the main reasons we designed Elemental Self Refer , a tool that allows anyone to refer themselves directly to a Community Connector or into quality assured social prescribing activities.
By putting control back with the patient, anyone can browse, refer, register, and connect to their preferred community based providers and social prescribing interventions in less than a few minutes, based on their needs, anywhere, any time and in any place.
The “Prevention is better than cure” paper comes at a key time, ahead of our Elemental Self Refer launch at The King’s Fund Social Prescribing: Coming of Age event today. For an exclusive first look and demo of Elemental Self Refer, book your 1-1 below or drop by our stand to find out more.