Prevention of Ill Health: Government Vision

Part of Universal Credit – in the House of Commons at 5:25 pm on 5th November 2018.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 5:25 pm, 5th November 2018

Great, well I take that as a broadly positive response from the hon. Gentleman, and I will address the points he makes. He asked about money, and we are putting £20.5 billion extra into the NHS—this is the largest and longest financial commitment any Government have made to any public service ever. Of course, as well as the NHS budget, local authorities have budgets for public health; as he said, that will be addressed in the spending review. The increase in funding must ensure that we do more on prevention, which means more going into community services and into primary care, as well as making sure we get the appropriate level of spending into public health.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the consultation on advertising as part of the obesity plan. As he knows, that will be published before Christmas. He also asked about rates of immunisation. I want to see immunisation used right across the country. There is a campaign all of us can take part in to persuade people and ensure that immunisation takes place. We do not have compulsory immunisation in this country. I believe that is right, on civil liberties grounds, but by goodness it means it is incumbent on all of us to persuade everybody of the health benefits of immunisation.

The hon. Gentleman asked about GP numbers. We want 5,000 more GPs, and I am glad to report that we have got record numbers of GPs in training, thanks to action by this Government. Finally, he asked about the economic causes of ill health. The No. 1 economic cause of ill health is not having a job, and there are record numbers of jobs in this country. If he says that inequality has an impact on ill health, he should probably welcome the fall in inequality that we have seen under this Government.