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NHS England: Too many organisations see health creation as ‘tick box exercise’

Health and social care services need to be stronger on health creation and prevention services, Michael Macdonnell has exclusively told NHE.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, the NHS England national director for transforming health systems said that in too many parts of the NHS, health creation and prevention services were seen as a “tick box exercise.”

Macdonnell warned that if NHS England tries to address the problem it risks becoming “a fulcrum of lobbying and worrying about what’s happening at a national level.”

Instead, he argued that autonomy should be devolved to local systems, which are much closer to the residents and patients they service, and are often involved with the groups that can help them.

He told NHE: “Part of the answer is to stick with devolution and stick with the idea that creating greater autonomy and greater leadership at local levels is the right thing to do even when the going gets tough.”

Macdonnell added that it should be made easy for people to try to do the right thing, for instance by changing the flow of money and recognising the contributions of these services in the same way as an area such as A&E.

However, he acknowledged that there are difficulties: “Unfortunately we’ve had our preventative services cut in part, but we’ve still got to get upstream.”

Commenting on this week’s study from the Lancet and Diabetes UK about how lifestyle changes, dietary changes can reverse pre-diabetes, he added: “Now, this is the sort of thing that can save the NHS billions. It’s the right thing to do, and we’ve got to ask systems to implement those sorts of changes.”

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