'Preventative illnesses are overwhelming the NHS; illnesses caused by obesity, smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise.'

All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health 2013

 

1. The NHS is a vital resource if we fall ill – but isn’t a National Health Service. 95% of its resources are committed to providing a medical service i.e. treating people when they fall ill or have an accident. Only 5% of its resources are committed to maintaining health i.e. stopping people falling ill in the first place. 

2. This means the NHS could become financially unsustainable. The demands on it, from more older people, more lifestyle related illness and increasing patient expectations are rising more rapidly than the funding available. Not to mention the rising cost of drugs, medical technology and new hospitals and medical centres.

3. That’s why we need more focus on helping people stay healthy. That’s good for them, their families and their employers. It is also good for the NHS - as it gives doctors and nurses more time to provide the best possible treatment for those who do fall ill. And it is good for the government too, as it keeps the NHS affordable and therefore possible to maintain as a service freely available to everyone who needs it.

If we think about it we’d probably all agree with this assessment. However, achieving it will take:

• A recognition that we need to give health a higher priority
• Action to achieve this
• Campaigning if needed, to secure the necessary changes

Hence our Health Action Campaign.