Julia Hartley-Brewer has said that people understand the effect “a kebab and cigarettes” has on their health and still make that choice, as the Health Secretary announces a new prevention strategy for areas such as smoking and obesity.
People will be encouraged to take more responsibility for managing their own health, as part of the Government’s latest NHS strategy.
Hosting her show, Julia Hartley-Brewer told Health Secretary Matt Hancock: “Everyone knows that you are not supposed to live on a kebab and cigarettes every day, but clearly millions of people are doing it.
“Why do you think this health message will get through uniquely when these other health messages haven’t?
“Maybe people hear the advice, they understand the effect it will have on their health and the longevity of their life and they still make that choice.”
'Prevention is better than a cure'
Mr Hancock has said that some people “don’t get the support they need”, as he plans to announce a green paper called ‘Prevention is better than a cure’.
“That is partly true. Also, some people don’t get the support they need when they need it,” he said.
“One example of how we can be more targeted is with smoking.
“We have had bid success over a generation; the amount of smoking is falling and now only about 15% of people smoke.
“But, it is harder to get those people who are smoking to stop.
“If you turn up to the hospital and you are a smoker, and you are in with a smoking-related condition, isn’t it reasonable for the hospital, whilst you are in, to get going on the courses and treatments that you need that work to stop people smoking.
“That is something that has been done in Canada – it is a Canadian model – and it is something that we should do more on here.”
The Health Secretary is due to address the Annual Meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes on Monday.
'That money is going to be eaten up'
Julia Hartley-Brewer added that prevention was not a new strategy and “governments of the last decade have been talking about” it.
“I have attended a number of NHS conferences over the years and governments of the last decade have been talking about prevention and more community care,” she said.
“Focusing on not just what is going on in hospital, but what stops people going to hospital in the first place.
“They say that is all very well that everyone talks about it in politics but they withdraw the money and there isn’t actually the money for the community nurses, for those outreach programmes and for those prevention strategies.
“You say £20 billion is going in but in reality that money is going to be eaten up very quickly by our aging population.”
Mr Hancock added: “I am determined to make sure that we get the balance more towards primary care, doctors and community services that stop people going into hospital in the first place.”