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Matt Hancock will say prevention will be at the heart of the NHS long-term plan

Matt Hancock will say prevention will be at the heart of the NHS long-term plan

Matt Hancock will say prevention will be at the heart of the NHS long-term plan

Health advice will be tailored to class, lifestyle and genetic make-up under a new strategy to give everyone in the UK an extra five years of life.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock wants public health bodies to use personal data of millions to target advice on alcohol, diet and exercise.

The technique is dubbed ‘predictive prevention’, where Government data is used to target different messages at those to whom it is likely to apply.

For example, pregnant women in Blackpool would receive stop smoking messages because the data shows they are much more likely to smoke than elsewhere.

In a speech to be delivered today, Mr Hancock will declare prevention is better than cure as he hopes to boost healthy life expectancy by 2035.

At present, boys can expect a healthy life expectancy of 63-and-a-half years, with another 16 years in poor health. Girls can expect 64 years of healthy life plus 19 years of illness. 

In a vision document released yesterday, it was revealed that the Government wants to ‘offer people precise and targeted health advice’.  

This will be specifically designed for their demographic, location, lifestyle and their circumstances, as well as their health needs and their health goals.

Officials are being tight-lipped on further details of how the plans will work until next year.

Mr Hancock told The Sunday Telegraph that the personalised advice may also be tailored for individual genetic make-up.

He said: ‘For instance, if you get your genome partially sequenced you can find out if you have a deficiency in a particular vitamin.

‘A vitamin B12 deficiency leads to a higher instance of dementia but can be prevented by eating broccoli.

‘If we said to the population as a whole, ‘You must eat more broccoli’, it wouldn’t go down as well as if people have their genomes sequenced [and] know they have a particular problem.’

Mr Hancock earlier this month announced a huge scale-up to the 100,000 genome project pioneered by David Cameron. He announced plans to sequence one million whole genomes but said he wants to ‘make it available to all’.  

Mr Hancock also said: ‘We are spending £97billion of public money on treating disease and only £8billion preventing it across the UK.’

‘You don’t have to be an economist to see those numbers don’t stack up,’ he added, accepting that targeting advice based on social background could attract controversy.

People must take more responsibility for their own health by eating less, stopping smoking and taking more exercise, the Health Secretary will say today

People must take more responsibility for their own health by eating less, stopping smoking and taking more exercise, the Health Secretary will say today

People must take more responsibility for their own health by eating less, stopping smoking and taking more exercise, the Health Secretary will say today

‘A focus on prevention and predictive medicine isn’t just the difference between life and death, it’s the difference between spending the last 20 years of your life fit and active or in constant pain from a chronic condition.

‘So our focus must shift from treating single acute illnesses to promoting the health of the whole individual.’

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: ‘Investing in prevention is the smartest thing we can do.

‘We need to move from a system that detects and treats illnesses to one that also predicts and prevents poor health through promoting health in all policies and puts people back in charge of their own health.’

Mr Hancock will also call on GPs and other community services to step up to the plate to take the pressure off hospitals.

However, he will also say: ‘Prevention is also about ensuring people take greater responsibility for managing their own health.

‘It’s about people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking. Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat.’

The Health Secretary will add: ‘And the reason why getting prevention right really matters is because it’s the only way we can tackle health inequality.’

Mr Hancock will say prevention will be at the heart of the NHS long-term plan, due later this year.

In turn, the NHS will do more to identify and tackle the root causes of poor health by using genomics, working with employers and improving housing.

Mr Hancock will also announce that the Government is to put forward ‘realistic but ambitious goals’ to bring salt levels down further by Easter.

He will be talking today at the annual meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes.