Responding to the NHS’ long-term funding plan, experts have cautioned that for progress to be made, the funding must be protected for an appropriate time period.
Professor Derek Bell, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, welcomed additional funding in England to support the prevention of health conditions and diseases, but has said he wants the NHS to remain equally committed to, and focused on, patients who require ongoing care and support.
He warned that whilst expanding and improving preventative measures is important, quality care can only be delivered by a high quality workforce with the appropriate level of education, and medical research.
“The intention to strengthen prevention is welcome, because if successful, this may in future free up much needed funding and staff resource which could be used elsewhere in the NHS. Indeed, we should expect as much from our NHS. But this policy must be backed by a high quality workforce, with the right education and training to deliver quality prevention services.
“In England in 2013/14, the average NHS spend per head was £1,742, compared to £49 per head for average public health spending. We think that ring-fencing the prevention budget, and a more integrated, system approach would help deliver public health objectives.
“Although the 10 year plan is ambitious, NHS England must ensure that it does not leap head first into new or additional measures in underperforming areas, without understanding why outcomes aren’t as good as expected.”
UK Government are being urged to provide greater clarity on how it plans to retain doctors from the EU, as well as maintain funding for medical research in the UK.