Ended with Response
Ended with Response

Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s

About this consultation

The commitments outlined in this Green Paper are intended to signal a new preventive approach for the health and care system in England. It aims to ensure that Government, both local and national, works with the health and care system, to put prevention at the centre of all their decision-making. The Government urges that for it to succeed, and for the NHS to be transformed and the nation's health improved over the next decade, individuals and communities must play their part too. It emphasises that health is a shared responsibility and only by working together can the vision of healthier and happier lives for everyone be achieved.


The Green Paper highlights that over the decades, traditional public health interventions have led to significant improvements in the health of the nation. However, it stresses that there are still significant challenges around health issues from smoking, obesity and dementia to musculoskeletal conditions, mental ill health and sleep deprivation.

And it flags-up opportunities to create a proactive, predictive and personalised prevention system, with targeted support, tailored lifestyle advice, personalised care and greater protection against future threats.

The paper reminds readers that when people’s health is good, people take it for granted and when it’s bad, they expect the NHS to do their best to fix it. It argues that, instead, we need to view health as “an asset to invest in throughout our lives”, and not just a problem to fix when it goes wrong and that everyone in the UK should have a solid foundation on which to build their health.

Proposed changes

The Government are seeking views on proposals to tackle the causes of preventable ill health in England. The paper explains that new technologies such as genomics and artificial intelligence will help create a new prevention model that means the NHS will be there for people even before they are born. Using data held by the NHS, and generated by smart devices worn by individuals, will mean there can be a new wave of intelligent public health where everyone has access to their health information and many more health interventions are personalised. It envisages that in the 2020s, people will not be passive recipients of care – they will be co-creators of their own health. The paper argues that the challenge is to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to help themselves.  

Consultation questions

There are more than 20 questions (including demographics) in total across all four consultation sections and respondents can answer as many or as few questions as they wish, focusing on where they have relevant views and evidence to share. Questions particularly relevant to work-related health include:

Q8 - There are many factors affecting people’s mental health. How can we support the things that are good for mental health and prevent the things that are bad for mental health, in addition to the mental health actions in the green paper?

Q9 - Have you got examples or ideas about using technology to prevent mental ill-health, and promote good mental health and wellbeing?    

Q10 - We recognise that sleep deprivation (not getting enough sleep) is bad for your health in several ways. What would help people get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night?

Q13 - What would you like to see included in a call for evidence on musculoskeletal (MSK) health?

Q14 - What could the government do to help people live more healthily in workplaces?

Q15 - What is your priority for making England the best country in the world to grow old in, alongside the work of Public Health England and national partner organisations? E.g. Support people with staying in work, training to change careers in later life and/or caring for a loved one?

Q16 - What government policies (outside of health and social care) do you think have the biggest impact on people's mental and physical health? Please describe a top 3

Q20 - What other areas (in addition to those set out in this green paper) would you like future government policy on prevention to cover?

We invite IOSH members to send us comments on this consultation to consultation@iosh.com, to help inform an IOSH submission, by 16 September 2019.

IOSH members wishing to also respond individually to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care can do so by visiting the Department of Health's website and responding by 14 October 2019.