Prevention in the NHS
Prevention in the NHS operates in different ways, at different times, and at different levels. This makes cross-sector action challenging to operationalise at the scale required to improve population health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.
There is currently no common thread from national to system/organisational level prevention strategies, with accountability mechanisms.
A recent survey of 310 NHS leaders on what they think the NHS’s prevention priorities should be in their local areas has revealed three key priorities:
- delivering a systems approach to prevention (64%)
- embedding prevention into routine practice, eg Make Every Contact Count (45%)
- embedding prevention into clinical and/or patient pathways (43%).2
The NHS can make the most of its existing assets and interactions by building prevention into clinical pathways and working across organisations to ensure services are joined up. Perioperative care offers a means of supporting primary and secondary care organisations to deliver system wide prevention interventions that operate at both individual and population health level.