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Thérèse Coffey urged to act proactively in bid to tackle NHS crisis

The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Thérèse Coffey, has been warned to not forget about prevention, as she prepares to tackle one of the biggest NHS crises in decades.

Coffey, who will serve, not only as new health secretary but also as Liz Truss’ Deputy Prime Minister, announced last week that she was going to prioritise four key things to deal with the NHS crisis:

  • A – Ambulances
  • B – Backlogs
  • C – Care
  • D – Doctors and Dentists

Following this, London-based think tank, International Longevity Centre (ILC), have urged the incoming Secretary of State to be proactive in her efforts to improve the country’s health, rather than being reactive and acting retrospectively.

Arunima Himawan, a Research Fellow at ILC, said: “There is a serious danger of the urgent driving out the important. Preventing ill health will not only help us find long-term solutions to backlogs, doctors’ shortages and acute care, but is key to helping the government reach its target of 5 extra healthy years by 2035.”

The Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal has already received substantial pushback on her historical efforts to overturn anti-tobacco legislation.

Phil Chamberlain, Associate Professor at Bath University and leader of its Tobacco Control Research Group, said: “It is deeply worrying to think what Coffey will do the next time vital public health proposals cross her desk. Unless she changes her track record the burden on the NHS is only likely to increase.

“Regulations require the tobacco industry be kept well away from any government decision-making but thanks to Liz Truss, they’re already inside the Cabinet.”

Professor Les Mayhew, ILC’s Head of Global Research has also urged Thérèse Coffey to bring fourth her proposed plans to deal with smoking.

He said: “One place the new secretary of state should start to bring forward the proposed measures is tobacco control.

“Although smoking prevalence has been falling, it still kills 75,000 a year in England alone, and results in over half a million admissions to hospital every year.”

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