ILC-UK response to NHS White Paper: Government must not forget the commitment to 5 extra healthy years

  • Prevention must be a priority to support the future of the NHS
  • We need an ambitious plan for public health with some carrot and stick
  • Government must not forget the commitment to 5 extra healthy years

Responding to the NHS White Paper published today, David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC) – the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, said:

“It is promising to see the commitment to more joint working across government on prevention. The case for prevention is clear. We know it is better than cure. We know it is cost-effective. And we know it saves lives. Yet preventative services are too often the first to be cut and the last to receive investment.

The Conservative manifesto made the commitment to achieve an extra 5 healthy years by 2035, and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP has said, ‘This is the primary long-term clinical goal we’ve set the NHS’. Yet there is little or no explicit reference to this goal in the White Paper. Government must not forget this commitment and the planned reforms of the NHS need to be designed in such a way to deliver this ambitious target.

It is vital that Government sets out soon its plans for the future design of the public health system. An ambitious plan with a bit of carrot and stick will be necessary.

Technology also undoubtedly has a crucial role to play in promoting and delivering prevention. But we need real action on breaking down the barriers to the use of technology, not just glib promises of a brighter future.”


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The NHS White Paper, which sets out the Department of Health and Social Care’s legislative proposals for a Health and Care Bill. can be found here.

Our Delivering prevention in an ageing world programme seeks to encourage governments across the world to invest in preventative health and tackle inequalities in access to health,

On Monday, 22 February, we are hosting a webinar discussion responding to the White Paper. Find out more and register here.