Prevention better than cure says Matt Hancock

Prevention better than cure says Matt Hancock

Introducing a new prevention strategy Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said that there must be a greater focus and spending on prevention, not just cure, in the future. BDA chair, Mike Armstrong, commented: “Sadly he’s had more to say about broccoli than wholly preventable oral diseases that are costing our NHS millions.”

The policy paper, issued by the Government, Prevention is better than cure: our vision to help you live well for longer, sets out the government’s vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation’s health.

The document sets out the government’s vision for:

  • stopping health problems from arising in the first place
  • supporting people to manage their health problems when they do arise

The goal is to improve healthy life expectancy by at least 5 extra years, by 2035, and to close the gap between the richest and poorest.

It says that, in the UK, we spend 60% of public funding for healthcare on cure and rehabilitation, and only 5% on prevention. “This means we are spending £97 billion a year on treating diseases, and only £8 billion on preventing them.” It says they must prioritise ‘investment’ in primary and community care, “where the majority of primary prevention in the health and social care system is likely to occur.”

Dentistry is mentioned a couple of times, but nothing specific is promised. This led to the BDA questioning the Health Secretary’s priorities, in his new ‘prevention focused’ vision for the NHS which, the BDA said, “failed to meaningfully engage on wholly preventable oral diseases like tooth decay.”

Mick Armstrong commented: “The Health Secretary says he wants to champion prevention. Sadly, he’s had more to say about broccoli than wholly preventable oral diseases that are costing our NHS millions. When tooth decay remains the number one reason for child hospital admissions, treating dentistry as an afterthought looks more than careless. England’s huge oral health inequalities are fuelled by poverty and the lack of a coherent strategy. The starting point for any solution won’t be ‘Big Data’ or Apps, it requires political will from Westminster and an end to year on year cuts.”

The full report can be found at:


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