The health and wellbeing gap

definition of health

Preventing illness is critical if the NHS is to remain sustainable. Much of the pressure on the NHS and hospital admissions is due to illnesses that could be avoided, such as diabetes or heart disease.

By supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing through local and national programmes, unnecessary hospital admissions will be avoided and geographic and socio-economic health inequalities will be reduced. 

What the 5YFV proposes

NHS England will work with Public Health England to lead or support national action on the main causes of UK’s major health problems: obesity, smoking and alcohol. 

  • Incentivising and supporting healthier behaviour
    • The NHS will support national action to include clear information and product labelling, as well as targeted personal support and wider changes to marketing and pricing. 
  • Local democratic leadership on public health
    • Through local Health and Wellbeing Boards, the NHS will support initiatives to improve the health of local communities.
    • Mayors and local authorities should be granted greater powers to allow democratic decisions on local public health policy on issues that affect physical and mental health.
  • Targeted prevention 
    • NHS England and Public Health England will establish a programme of services to help target preventable illnesses related to obesity, smoking and alcohol.
  • Supporting people to get and stay in employment
    • A government-backed Fit for Work scheme will support people to stay in work, which in turn improves mental and physical health by preserving livelihoods.
    • NHS England will also test an opportunity to improve access to NHS services for at-risk individuals.
  • Workplace health
    • NHS England will work with NHS Employers to develop incentives that ensure the NHS sets an example in supporting its own staff to stay healthy, and serve as health ambassadors in local communities.

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