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Preventive Care

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2018

Our NHS offers a range of world-leading preventive care services, but we can go further and faster. The Secretary of State has named prevention as one of his top three priorities, signalling a renewed focus on public health, community and mental health services.

I thank the Minister for her reply. She will know, because I have spoken about this to the Secretary of State’s team, about the pressures on my constituency, and particularly on the Church Lane GP surgery. Specifically on preventive services, wearable tech, health tech and medical tech provide an opportunity to keep people healthier for longer, and can provide early digital diagnosis that can relieve pressure on medical services. What more can be done to pursue this way of relieving pressure on the health service?

I completely agree that technology can really help in this way. I recently visited Hampshire County Council, which is using a range of gadgets including a really simple one involving a light bulb that comes on when someone gets out of bed in the night to go for a pee. That is ingenious, and it is helping to prevent avoidable falls.

My constituent Holly Alliston has contacted me about the epipens that her two-year-old son, who has a severe nut allergy, relies on. There is a national shortage of them, and the Northfield Pharmacy has been emailed by NHS England to say that the situation is critical. What is the Minister doing about this? We hear about the possibility of troops having to distribute stockpiled medicines when we leave the EU, but this is hitting us now.

The hon. Lady is absolutely right to raise this matter. We are working closely with all the manufacturers of adrenaline auto-injectors to improve the supply situation as quickly as possible.

One in 10 mums gets post-natal depression, and we know that early identification is key to preventing it from becoming more serious. May I urge the Minister to look at the National Childbirth Trust’s campaign to ensure that all mums—as well as all babies—get a six-week check?

We are really supportive of the Hidden Half campaign, run by the NCT—my colleague the Minister met the trust last week. We must ensure that we are supportive of new mothers’ health needs.

I am really pleased that the hon. Gentleman has raised that. Clearly, early screening is fundamental and one of the key pillars of what we want to focus on with cancers. Prostate cancer affects so many gentlemen up and down the country, and we know that that early detection is the difference between life and death.