Intended for healthcare professionals


The NHS long term plan and public health

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 16 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l218
  1. Rachel Chapman, specialty registrar in public health,
  2. John Middleton, president
  1. UK Faculty of Public Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: J Middleton president{at}

An opportunity to create a unifying “national service for health”

The NHS long term plan for England was published on 7 January.1 It is rightly ambitious and sets out a vision for the NHS that is largely technocratic and pragmatic, and ostensibly dogma-free.2 The plan comes in a time of deepening austerity, widening inequalities in health, and deep cuts in local government and public health budgets.3 Although it looks like a good plan for the NHS, is it a plan for health, wellbeing, equality, and care?

There is considerable expectation that demand for health services can be reduced through prevention, with an emphasis on the NHS delivering targeted interventions to reduce health risks. The NHS will offer hospital tobacco treatment services to all smokers admitted to hospital and will offer weight management programmes to obese patients with type 2 diabetes or hypertension. The national diabetes prevention programme will be expanded. Hospital food standards will be improved, as will nutrition training for medical professionals. Hospitals with high rates …

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