The NHS Long Term Plan has been released with a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year.
The plan sets out new commitments for action that the NHS itself will take to improve prevention. It does so while recognising that a comprehensive approach to preventing ill-health also depends on action that only individuals, companies, communities and national government can take to tackle wider threats to health, and ensure health is hardwired into social and economic policy.
The Global Burden of Disease study quantifies and ranks the contribution of various risk factors that cause premature deaths in England. The top five are: smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, obesity and alcohol and drug use. Air pollution and lack of exercise are also significant. These priorities guide the renewed NHS prevention programme.