Brown pledges more preventative NHS

Gordon Brown promised a more personal and preventative NHS today as a new national health screening programme to provide patients with early warning of some of the biggest killer diseases was announced.

The Prime Minister said on GMTV: "What I want to have is a 21st century, modern health service that people think is rightly personal to your needs, not some service provided by someone else but you can organise it around your needs.

"So if you want a check-up, if you want screening, if you want a preventative vaccine, if you want advice on health and fitness... the health service is there for you, and it is a preventative health service so it is preventing illness as well as dealing with illness."

His remarks came he declared the Government's intention to set up the first national screening programme of its kind in the world, spotting the early signs of heart problems, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease and providing the sort of wellbeing tests generally available only to private patients.

Mr Brown was also announcing plans to make key diagnostic procedures such as blood tests, electro-cardiograms (ECGs) and ultrasounds available in local GP surgeries, to help cut waiting times.

In his first major speech on health since becoming Prime Minister last year, Mr Brown will say: "A more personal and preventative service will be one that intervenes earlier, with more information and control put more quickly into the hands of patient and clinician.

"Over time everyone in Britain will have access to the right preventative health check-up...

"There will soon be check-ups on offer to monitor for heart disease, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease - conditions which affect the lives of 6.2 million people, cause 200,000 deaths each year and account for a fifth of all hospital admissions."

In the next few months, Health Secretary Alan Johnson will set out plans to introduce NHS tests to identify vulnerability to a range of heart and circulation problems, Mr Brown will say.

Vascular screening, to be introduced this year or early 2009, will include a series of blood, fat and sugar tests in GP surgeries, alongside questions on age, gender, postcode, family history, height and weight.

Those identified as being at risk will have access to treatment, advice and support to make necessary lifestyle changes to avoid ill-health.

And as many as 1,600 lives could be saved each year by offering men over 65 a simple ultrasound test for early abdominal aortic aneurysm - or "triple A", the weakening of the main artery from heart to abdomen, which kills more than 3,000 men annually.

Early detection of the potentially fatal condition will allow preventative surgery for patients at risk.

Mr Brown will also announce further moves to meet the Government's target of a maximum 18-week waiting time from diagnosis to treatment.

"We will extend the availability of diagnostic procedures in the GP surgery - making blood tests, ECGs and, in some cases, ultrasounds available and on offer not only when you are acutely unwell or if you can pay, but when you want and need them, where you need them, at the local surgery," he will say.

The Prime Minister will say that, in its 60th anniversary year, the renewal of the NHS is the Government's highest priority.

"Amongst global healthcare systems, the NHS is uniquely well-placed to deliver a transformation in the relationship between patients and clinicians," he will say.

"It remains one of the most trusted organisations in British society, its doctors, nurses and staff recognised by everyone as a force for good in our country. This is why renewal of the NHS will be our highest priority.

"Our goal: deeper and wider reform, building on the values, principles and idealism of the NHS to create for the next decade an NHS that is here for all of us but personal to each of us, focused on prevention as much as cure, and strong and confident enough to put real control into the hands of individuals and their clinicians.

"This is a worthy mission for an institution as great and as significant in our lives as the National Health Service and it is a transformation I ask you all to be a part of."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn