latest health care news


Controversial new prevention green paper ‘a step in the right direction’

The long-awaited prevention green paper has been published by the government, including a host of policies targeting ill-health such as proposals tackling smoking, drinking and poor diets.

The ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’ green paper was released on Monday night without media fanfare, and has been treated with scepticism due to its timing, with the report coming less than 24 hours before the new Conservative leader is named.

The green paper reveals an ambition for the country to be smoke-free by 2030, and proposes forcing tobacco firms to pay a levy towards treating people who develop smoking-related diseases.

It also puts forward a potential ban for under-16s from purchasing energy drinks, and suggests extending the sugar tax from soft drinks to other highly sweetened products such as milkshakes, despite potential new prime minister Boris Johnson saying recently he was against such a move.

The green paper is cautiously-worded, suggesting the milkshake tax “may” be introduced, but does reiterate a pledge to halve childhood obesity by 2030 as well as a commitment to a salt reduction plan.

It states that the 2020s will be decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention, meaning “targeted support, tailored lifestyle advice, personalised care and greater protection against future threats.”

READ MORE: Lack of prevention means continuation of ‘vicious circle’ of pressure on hospitals

Other areas of focus include mental health, using predictive prevention genetic analysis, and working with DEFRA on improving and combating air pollution,

The British Heart Foundation welcomed the prevention green paper, calling it a “promising step in the right direction” and the government’s focus on disease prevention “welcome and much-needed.”

Chief executive, Simon Gillespie, said the proposals “are essential if we are to shift the dial and reduce the huge burden of heart and circulatory diseases.”

But he did warn that responsibility for public health still sits with local authorities, and more local government funding and resources is needed.

The LGA also welcomed “some ambitious and interesting ideas,” but called it a “missed opportunity to make the most of councils’ role and expertise” as it ignores the role of local authorities in public health.

The green paper was published without any public backing from the health secretary Matt Hancock, and Johnson recently vowed to end the “continuing creep of the nanny state,” starting with a review of so-called “sin taxes.”


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >


NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >