May: ‘Historic’ 10-year plan will relieve pressure on NHS
A new 10-year-plan for the NHS will be a "historic step" for the health service that will cut waste and focus spending on patients, Theresa May has said.
It will ensure "every pound is spent in a way that will most benefit patients", relieving pressure on the system and providing the best care "from cradle to grave", according to the prime minister.
Mrs May has promised an extra £20.5bn for the NHS by 2023-24 and the plan – being launched on Monday – includes:
:: Giving patients digital access to their GP, including being able to manage prescriptions, make appointments and view health records online
:: More support for 350,000 children and young people and 380,000 adults with mental health conditions
:: Giving more people say over their care as they age and expanding the use of personal health budgets
:: Improving maternity safety and giving more mental health support to new parents
:: Making "back-office" savings of more than £700m
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mrs May admitted the extra money would mean "less room for manoeuvre" for other areas of public spending, but that it was the right decision.
Mrs May writes: "The NHS has always been the country's most beloved public service – there to provide outstanding care to us all whenever it is needed.
"The launch of the NHS long-term plan marks an historic step to secure its future and offers a vision for the service for the next 10 years, with a focus on ensuring that every pound is spent in a way that will most benefit patients.
"This will help relieve pressure on the NHS while providing the basis to transform care with world-class treatments."
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) welcomed the plan but said action is needed to address staff shortages.
Dame Donna Kinnair, the RCN's acting chief executive, said: "When existing services are already under strain, NHS staff are waiting for a further plan to address the extra staff needed to keep care at the highest quality.
"The NHS in England is already short of more than 40,000 nurses and the figure is rising.
"NHS England and the government must urgently address these chronic shortages to make the plan the success it deserves to be.
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"If the NHS is to better meet the needs of patients and the public in these important areas of mental illness, cancer and long-term conditions, it must recognise the value of the highly skilled and qualified nursing workforce and the harsh realities on the NHS frontline."
The government has promised to hire tens of thousands more staff but its plan is not expected until later this year.