In November 2018 the Prevention is better than cure position paper was published establishing the government’s vision for putting prevention at the heart of health and care services, with an overarching aim of ensuring that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035. The Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s Green Paper was subsequently published in July 2019 as a consultation document. It seeks comments on the proposed vision for an intelligent and personalised approach to preventative systems, and signposts to a wider structure of issue-specific strategies and consultations to be published over the next six months.
Identifying the four factors that shape our health: the services we receive, the choices we make, the conditions in which we live, and our genes, the Green Paper sets out a number of policy aspirations to address these factors across three themes: opportunities, challenges, and strong foundations.
However, there continues to be significant disjuncture between the narrative of commitment to prevention and the imbalanced funding allocations between preventative services (largely provided by local authorities) and treatment services (largely provided by the NHS). Despite evidence demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of prevention (public health expenditure was recently shown to deliver the same level of impact on population mortality as treatment services at a quarter to a third of the cost) the Public Health Grant has been cut by 15% per head in London since 2015/16.
London Councils' response to the Prevention Green Paper highlights the effective programmes currently being delivered by local authorities to meet the aims of this document, and calls for a reversal of the cuts to the public health grant and action to address the ongoing funding disparities between treatment and preventative services.