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The plan, published in January 2019, includes proposals for changing NHS services over the next five and ten years. It follows the announcement in June 2018 by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, of increased funding for the NHS, averaging 3.4% during the period from 2019/20 to 2023/24. This compares to an average growth of 2.2% over the previous five years and the long-term average for the NHS since 1948 of 3.7%.

The stated aims of the plan are to maximise the impact of the extra funding received as part of the Government’s five-year funding plan, tackle the pressures currently faced by NHS staff and take advantage of new health technologies and treatments. It includes measures intended to change the way NHS services are provided and increase the coordination of NHS services with local authorities, the care sector and the voluntary sector. The plan sets targets for improving public health; for clinical outcomes in areas such as preventing infant mortality and improving cancer survival rates; and for improving mental health services.

Although the ambitions of the long-term plan have been welcomed, concerns have been raised about the support being provided to realise these ambitions. The size of the increase to the NHS budget has been criticised as being insufficient to meet the scale of the changes planned. It has also been noted the plan would depend not only on the size of the NHS budget, but also the funding available to social care and medical training which are not covered by the five-year spending plan announced by the Government in June 2018. Organisations representing NHS staff have argued the aims of the long-term plan could not be achieved without reducing the number of vacancies in the NHS.


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