This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Where the Long-Term Plan comes up short

Written by: | Published:

Health Secretary Matthew Hancock Health Secretary Matthew Hancock's Long-Term Plan has laudable aims, but how does it square with the realities of the NHS he oversees?

There is nothing governments like more than a long-term plan for the NHS, there have been 13 in the last 18 years alone. The changing health landscape, funding pressures and the political class’s failure to build cross-party consensus around health, make the NHS catnip for tinkerers.

Nevertheless, this week we finally saw the Long-Term Plan and for those of us whose interest lies in primary and commmunity care, there was a lot to like. There is a £4.5bn funding boost, a fresh emphasis on integrated care and preventative measures, and a stated aim to tackle health inequalities. Since this is techy Matt Hancock’s plan, there is also an interesting, if starry-eyed suggestion that digital consultations can free up GPs. But broadly this is a welcome shift away from the market excesses, towards place-based care, and away from a National Sickness Service to a genuine Health Service.

But a disingenuous air hangs over matters. It doesn’t help that the Prime Minister introduced the plan boasting about a Brexit dividend boosting NHS funding (even the most fervent leavers dropped that claim on 24 June 2016). But the focus on prevention comes just after another cut of £100m for public health budgets; the fine words about increasing nursing numbers come after financial support to student nurses has been completely removed; and the goal of integrated health is unachievable, while we still wait for the long-delayed Green Paper on social care.

Mr Hancock’s diagnosis is sound, his clinical priorities focussed, but he needs to add ‘cognitive dissonance’ to his list of morbidities to be eradicated. Good intentions alone will not deliver the change he wants.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.