Adjusting the focus from curing disease to preventing illness and years of poor health should be the mission of the NHS, according to Matt Hancock, the secretary of state, who has launched a new initiative, Prevention is better than cure: Our vision to help you live well for longer.
Referring to the 'Ageing Society Grand Challenge Mission', launched by the prime minister earlier this year, Mr Hancock said, "We will not meet our mission with business as usual. (We need) services which target the root causes of poor health and promote the health of the whole individual, not just treating single acute illnesses."
The Prevention is better than cure document says, "The NHS and local authorities need to put prevention at the heart of everything they do: tackling the root causes of poor health, not just treating the symptoms, and providing targeted services for those most at risk. Action is needed to empower people to make healthier choices, to harness modern technology, and to address the broader conditions that lead to health and social care needs in the first place."
However, Mr Hancock talked about "The responsibilities of individuals and families in reducing the chances of becoming unwell in the first place" and for people to choose healthier lifestyles.
Returning to the NHS, the document says "Everyone working in the health and social care system has a role to play. Professionals are in a unique position to influence and guide our lifestyle choices, and to spot when we might need help."