Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on Carers

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 20 February 2019.

I want to talk today about Lauren Phillips.

Lauren wasn’t always going to be doctor.

She was a talented violinist. She had been invited to join the Bristol Symphony Orchestra. She had huge talents and amazing opportunities. She had choices.

She also had a powerful vocation. She came from an NHS family. Her father is a doctor. Her uncle and aunt are doctors. Her mother works for the NHS.

Lauren’s father, Jonathan, said: “She chose medicine over music because she had a strong sense of social justice and felt she could help people and give something back to society.”

So that vocation, plus her remarkable talents, led her to becoming a doctor at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, a hospital that I know well.

But the job took its toll. The hours. The work-life balance. The pressures.

It wore her down. Gradually, Lauren became more withdrawn, and then one day she didn’t turn up for work.

Her car was found a 100 miles away on a beach in Devon. Her body has never been found.

Lauren’s father said:

During the short time she worked for it the NHS succeeded in sapping Lauren’s strength. Undermining her self-confidence. Attacking her professionalism. And devaluing her commitment.

It was not there to give her the help and support she needed to stay alive.

He’s right. And I want to apologise. As Secretary of State, and on behalf of the entire leadership of the NHS, I’m sorry.

I want to say sorry to Lauren’s parents, and the families of every other member of the NHS family, who we didn’t do enough to help when they needed us most.

We can never know all the reasons why someone decides to take their own life. But, hand on heart, it’s impossible to say we did enough to care for Lauren.

Across the NHS, we don’t do enough to care for our carers. And for that I am sorry.

Now, I don’t want anyone to point fingers and blame people.

That’s not what Lauren’s father wants either. He knows first-hand the unique difficulties of being on the NHS frontline. But he also believes, as I believe, that “you can’t look after your patients, unless you look after your own wellbeing”.

Instead, there is something else I want us to take from this tragedy. I want us to take resolve to make the changes needed so we can care for our carers, not just in pockets, but throughout the NHS.

So I welcome today’s report from Health Education England. And I look forward to working with the NHS to put the recommendations into practice.

There’s no silver bullet. But just because there’s no one solution, let’s not fall into thinking there’s no solution.

There are 3 things in particular from the report I want to draw out.

First, something that Lauren’s father said has really stuck in my head.

Jonathan believes just being able to play the violin with an orchestra would have made an enormous difference to her mental and emotional wellbeing. But Lauren couldn’t commit to a few hours a week for rehearsals because she never knew what hours she was going to be working.

I felt that was shocking, and desperately sad. Rota practices like these are antediluvian.

I have doctors in my family who sometimes can’t make an incredibly important event, not because they’re unexpectedly stuck caring for a patient whose life is on the line – that happens and is an important part of the job – but because the ‘rota says no’.

Now, we’ve changed the rules at a national level to allow for modern, smart rotas. Well-led trusts have embraced those changes, but they haven’t been rolled out everywhere. And that has got to change.

Second, the report makes it clear that we need to place as much importance on the care of the carers as the patients.

I firmly believe this is the right thing to do.

Adam Kay recently said that working in the NHS: “You’re forced to build an emotional forcefield because no one is caring for the carers.”

He’s right. I pay tribute to the work Adam has done to highlight some of these problems, using humour to make people listen. I was actually reading Adam’s book when I became Health Secretary, and it’s shaped how I think of things.

But I didn’t reach the last chapter until after I was in this job. And the anguish and the pain in that last chapter hit me like a kick in the stomach.

So thank you Adam. Keep fighting the good fight. Because no one should have to build an emotional forcefield around themselves. And no one can do their job properly if they do.

And the third thing I want to draw out is that, to recruit and retain more staff, we need to change the culture of the NHS.

Why is it that when 1.3 million people have devoted their lives to caring for others, the collective system is uncaring to some? We need to change a culture of carrying on regardless, not asking for help, not looking for signs of burn-out among our colleagues, thinking everything’s OK as long as someone turns up for work and does their job.

That isn’t good enough.

No one, no government, no party owns the NHS. We’re merely custodians, looking after it, to pass it on, fit for the future, to the next generation.

I feel that duty every morning when I awake. Because I care. I care deeply about the NHS.

It’s been there for me, and my children. It was there for my grandparents.

Staff at Southmead Hospital, where Lauren worked, saved the life of my sister.

The tragedy of what happened to Lauren has a personal poignancy for me, because Lauren could have been one of the A&E doctors when my sister was brought in with a serious head injury. And my whole family owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lauren’s colleagues.

It horrifies me that those brave doctors and nurses, who face trauma every day, could be going through what Lauren went through.

So, throughout the NHS we must act, and I promise you, I will do all I can to protect and pass on this great British institution to future generations in a better condition than I found it.

And the only way we can do that is by caring better for our carers.

By looking after the people who look after us.

By making sure that when somebody needs help, there’s someone they can turn to, someone they can talk to.

By valuing our NHS staff.

By building a just, caring culture.

Apologising when we get it wrong, and learning from our mistakes.

Because the NHS isn’t run by people, the NHS is people.

And I will do everything in my power to give you the support you deserve.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on Technology

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 11 February 2019.

This place has always looked to the future. Charles Darwin, Edward Jenner, Alexander Fleming: all fellows of this great institution, all coming together to “share knowledge” to “benefit society”.

I’d like to thank another great fellow – Dr Eric Topol – for the amazing work he, and his team, have done to benefit the NHS.

They’ve looked to the future. They’ve looked at genomics, digital medicines, AI and robotics. They’ve looked at the potential of new technology to save lives and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.

And they’ve looked at how tech can help staff, make their lives easier, and what we need to do to help our NHS workforce prepare for a digital future.

The Topol Review is a forensically thorough analysis of what we need to do and how we should do it. But I’d like to take a moment to focus on the why.

Why do I care about getting the right tech in the NHS? Why should we all care about getting the right tech in the NHS?

It’s not about having the latest gizmos. It’s because the right technology saves lives. Every major technological leap, from penicillin, to vaccination, to MRI, has meant more lives saved.

I’m confident that our children and grandchildren will look back at genomics, AI and robotics in the same way. They’ll be the ones asking us why, if we fail to seize this opportunity.

As Dr Topol says, we’re 10 years behind in some fields. If we just made better use of today’s tech, we could save more people.

So I care about tech because I care about people. I care about our NHS staff and our NHS patients. And I care about getting this right. Because I know the consequences when we don’t.

There’s something that Dr Umesh Prabhu said that has stayed with me. It’s the reason why he devoted his career to becoming an NHS medical director and an expert in patient safety.

When he was a consultant, he made a mistake. There were 2 babies with the same name on his ward. His junior doctor picked up the wrong case notes and when Dr Prabhu was brought the wrong x-ray, he discharged the wrong baby.

Two days later that baby boy was admitted to another hospital with severe brain damage. The baby’s step-father had stamped on his skull. X-rays showed the baby had multiple rib fractures, some of which were old.

As you can imagine, Dr Prabhu was devastated. Here was a man who cared deeply about his patients, who had made helping people his life’s mission.

That tragedy had a profound effect on him. He vowed to change the system, to put in place safety protocols and ways of working that would mean a simple mix-up couldn’t lead to such devastating consequences again.

Thankfully, thanks to his efforts, much has changed in the NHS since that happened. But it hasn’t changed enough.

Dr Prabhu says human beings make 5 to 7 mistakes every day. Everybody makes mistakes. Doctors and nurses will make mistakes, despite their best efforts and intentions.

That’s why, for me, getting the right tech ‒ tech that works, tech that helps our medical staff, that makes their lives easier, that reduces the chance of human error leading to human tragedy ‒ is so important.

I care passionately about giving our medical staff the right tools to do their jobs. I understand their frustration at systems that make their jobs more difficult. I get how a tough day becomes even tougher because something won’t work like it’s supposed to.

Digital tech has the potential to transform our health service in the future, but the right tech, right now, will improve lives, and save lives. So the work must begin now.

We’re going to have a chief information officer or a chief clinical information officer on the board of every local NHS organisation within the next 3 years.

Getting the right leadership, people who understand tech, who have tech skills themselves, involved in management decisions is vital to getting the right mindset in place. It’s the first step to training up staff, building up digital capability in hospitals and GP surgeries.

So I’m delighted to launch the Topol programme for digital healthcare fellowships. This programme will give clinicians the skills to make a practical difference to their local NHS organisations and start them on a career path to become CCIOs and CIOs. That way, those leaders can help train and prepare our workforce for a digital future.

And here I’d like to quote from the report: “There is a need to raise awareness of genomics and digital literacy among the health and social care workforce. This requires development of the skills, attitudes and behaviours that individuals require to become digitally competent and confident.”

So, the Prime Minister and I have asked Baroness Dido Harding to take forward a ‘workplace implementation plan’. She will build on the recommendations in the Topol Review:

all healthcare professionals should receive core training in genomic literacy to help them understand the basis, benefits and ethical considerations involved

we need to create a career pathway from undergraduate to specialist, a digitally enabled health system with a culture of continuous learning, and we need to support the educators, and the development of the whole workforce

Of course, we want the NHS to be world leaders in digital healthcare, so we need to attract the brightest and the best into our health service, we need to increase the number of clinicians, scientists, technologists and specialists.

But if we want to see transformative change in the NHS, then we need to embed digital skills into every level, and every part of it.

We must invest in training up the existing workforce. Staff must have the opportunity to learn about digital technologies and develop the necessary skills. They must have ongoing training.

The government is putting a record £20.5 billion a year into the NHS – the longest and largest cash settlement in its history.

It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity. To seize that opportunity and build a better, more sustainable health service for the future, we must ensure our NHS workforce have the right tech and the right tech skills.

Because, thirdly, and finally, I’d like to bring it back to why – why we’re here today.

That’s not a metaphysical question ‒ I’m afraid I can’t answer that one for you ‒ but why I’m here today is because I want us to harness the power of digital technology, to shape it as a force for good, because I want to help the NHS cut costs and save lives.

When we talk about the importance of data management and inter-operability, most of the public won’t know what we mean.

This is what I mean: right now, Tesco has more sophisticated and more efficient systems than the NHS. They know who you are through loyalty cards, where you shop through store IDs, and what you buy through the items scanned at the checkout.

That wealth of information means they can run their operations with just-in-time deliveries and market their goods to shoppers with personalised discount vouchers.

In the NHS, we don’t have anything like that. We don’t use common identifiers to identify patients, we don’t know which hospitals a patient has been to, we don’t know which medicines have been put into them. We don’t even know what we already know!

Of course, there are security and privacy concerns over sensitive medical data and that data has to be managed carefully and with consent. But the NHS is missing out on valuable information. Information that could make NHS services more efficient and safer.

A world in which a hospital can’t pull up a patient’s GP record to see the reason for stopping and starting medications is downright dangerous. True inter-operability means having the right systems and the right standards.

We have learned the lessons of the past. We don’t need the same system across the NHS, but we need the same standards so machines can talk to each other and data can be exchanged.

Six acute NHS trusts have taken up ‘Scan for Safety’, a standard methodology using standardised naming conventions and proven technology to identify and monitor patients, and track products and places.

I want to see this taken up by the entire acute sector. As the review says, we can have the most advanced tech, but we won’t see the benefits unless we have real inter-operability. So staff have to make scanning a routine part of their working day.

It takes seconds, but saves hours. If adopted across the NHS, the time saved would equate to almost 400 extra nurses.

As Dr Topol says in the report: “Wherever possible, the adoption of new technologies should enable staff to gain more time to care, promoting deeper interaction with patients”.

Because, ultimately, this is about people. It’s about doctors like Dr Prabhu. It’s about babies like that little boy.

For tech to succeed, for tech to fulfil its potential and deliver on its promise, then human beings are absolutely critical to making it happen. We need a culture change as much as we need a technological change.

So, let’s work together towards a digital future that works for people, that puts people first, that helps the NHS do the job it is there to do, ensures the NHS is always there, for all of us, for generations to come.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on NHS Leadership

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, at the Royal Society of Medicine, on 6 February 2019.

“Trust me, I’m a doctor.” A phrase so reassuring that it’s a punchline.

We trust doctors and nurses more than any other profession. It’s a bond of trust that is both implicit and unspoken. You see us at our weakest, our most vulnerable. You hold our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, in your hands.

I was reminded of this unspoken bond of trust last week on a visit to The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. I met a mother with her newborn. Everything had gone well with the delivery and she was looking forward to taking her healthy baby home.

The visible joy, and relief, in her face is something every parent has felt. I’ve felt it myself with all three of my children.

We trust nurses and doctors, we trust the NHS, with something more precious to us than life itself. You have saved the lives of people I love.

We trust you because we know that you’ll do everything you can to help us. That you won’t give up on us. That the safety and life of my child is as important to you as it is to me.

But we can’t take that trust for granted. It has to be earned, and it must be protected. I think that’s why, when that trust is forsaken, the shock is so profound. When I learned what happened at Gosport, I was shocked.

Families had entrusted their loved ones into the care of doctors and nurses. Elderly relatives, at their most vulnerable and frail, were failed by a system that took that trust for granted. Think about your grandmother, your grandfather: how would you feel if the people you trusted most had let you down?

I get it. I understand. As Health Secretary, I’m sorry to those families in Gosport, Liverpool Community Hospital, Mid Staffs and everyone else who has been let down. But I’m not here today to point fingers and blame people.

Instead, we must learn the right lessons about creating a caring, compassionate culture, about protecting and renewing the bond of trust between the public and the NHS – our nation’s most loved and respected institution.

Because the other thing I was reminded of last week is that leaders create the culture. Because after I spoke to that new mother I spoke with the Chief Exec, Lance McCarthy, and I asked him what they do when things go wrong. What’s his approach to mistakes?

And he gave me a brilliant answer. He said: “If we’ve made a mistake, then we’ve made a mistake. We should be open and honest, and apologise. And not be afraid to apologise because of any potential legal action.”

As Secretary of State, that’s exactly what I want to hear. Because we all make mistakes. We should strive to avoid them, of course, but the fact of a mistake isn’t the biggest problem. It’s how we respond to them and how we learn from them, that’s what’s most important. And we must never let our fear of the consequences, stop us from doing the right thing.

So what Lance has done at his Trust is introduce a ‘behaviour charter’. Patients, their families and medical colleagues know what they can expect: openness, honesty, trustworthiness.

That way when mistakes do happen there’s an honest conversation: this is what went wrong, we’re sorry, this is what we’re doing to fix it.

It’s not an admission of liability. It’s an acknowledgement that we can do better. It’s often the first step towards acceptance for the patient and their family. And it’s a vital part of the process of continuous improvement we need to see everywhere in the NHS. Taking responsibility, learning the lessons that need to be learned, continuous improvement.

And what Lance has found is that clinical negligence claims haven’t gone up at his trust since they introduced this new charter. In fact, Lance believes, when people feel like they’ve been treated with honesty and candour, they’re less likely to resort to legal action.

The simple act of saying sorry maintains the bond of trust with the public even when things don’t go as planned. But this isn’t just a moral issue for the NHS ‒ as important as that is ‒ it’s a financial issue as well.

Compensation pay-outs have quadrupled from half a billion to £2 billion pounds a year over the past decade. That is unacceptable and it’s clearly unsustainable.

If we don’t do something about the growing number, and value, of clinical negligence claims, it threatens to swallow up the record £20.5 billion a year we’re putting into the NHS, and derail our Long Term Plan to transform the health service.

And that infuriates me, because it’s an injustice for taxpayers and our hardworking NHS staff. This is a once in a generation opportunity to put our health service on a forward footing so we can look to the future with confidence.

We can’t afford to let it go to waste. There is a moral and financial urgency to act. We must improve patient safety, so there’s:

  • less paperwork for medical staff and more time for patients
  • faster resolution for those who are wronged
  • more money for frontline NHS services and less taxpayers’ money going to lawyers

That’s what I want to see. That’s the approach we’ll be taking in our new patient safety strategy.

Creating a more just culture in the NHS, a more open, honest and trustworthy culture, starts at the top. Getting the right leadership is vital. We need more people with clinical backgrounds and more people from outside the NHS.

We need to ensure they get the right support, training and development so they can lead their organisations effectively and create the right culture for staff and patients.

How do we strengthen this leadership? How do we encourage more inspirational leaders into the NHS? And how do we ensure we can hold to account that leadership once in place?

First, and perhaps counter intuitively, I think we must cut the turnover rate at the top. To improve leadership in the NHS we must fire fewer people and attract the best talent. NHS leaders have some of the toughest ‒ yet most rewarding ‒ jobs in the country. So let’s support them to do the job they need to do ‒ and that will encourage more to step up.

Next, we need to have a better structure, both to support and hold to account. Today we’re publishing Tom Kark’s review into how we can improve NHS leadership. I’d like to thank Tom for his work on this and I welcome his recommendations.

Kark recommends that all directors must meet minimum competency standards to sit on the board of any health organisation, and where training is needed to meet those new standards, then it should be made available

He also recommends a central directors’ database where information about qualifications and employment history can be easily accessed

These new recommendations will ensure the fit and proper persons test is met and that unqualified or unsuitable staff can’t just move somewhere else in the NHS. We accept these recommendations in full and will get on with implementing them immediately.

I’ve asked Dido Harding to consider the further recommendations, and how we can implement these recommendations, throughout the health service.

Third, we’re working with the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and NHS Improvement to give more support to families when things go wrong.

A new family engagement model will ensure relatives play an integral part in any investigation, that their concerns, and their complaints, are listened to and acted on.

Nobody should feel like they’re being fobbed off or a nuisance. We must give families all the information in an open and transparent way. And ensure they’re treated with sensitivity and compassion before, during and after any investigation.

That’s the same approach we’ll be taking when independent medical examiners start being introduced across England from April. Every death will be scrutinised by either a coroner or a medical examiner.

Medical examiners will be someone bereaved families can talk to about their concerns. They will ensure investigations take place when necessary, help detect and deter criminal activity, and promote good practice.

This new system will be overseen by a new independent National Medical Examiner. And training will take place to ensure a consistency of approach and a record of scrutiny.

Finally, we need to encourage whistleblowing. Despite our best efforts, mistakes happen. We’re all human, we’re all fallible. Any doctor who says they’ve never made an error isn’t telling the truth. And the truth is more important than any one error.

Mistakes should be seen as an opportunity to learn and improve, not a need for cover-up and denial. Honest feedback is a gift.

So whistleblowers are doing the NHS a great service. Someone, who has the courage to speak up and put their head above the parapet, should be encouraged and embraced. Yet, sadly, all too often, they’re ignored, bullied and worse: forced out.

Making someone choose between the job they love and speaking the truth to keep patients safe, is morally abhorrent and operationally foolish. It’s an injustice I am determined to end.

We must change the way the system views whistleblowers: from a problem, to part of the solution. We must embed a ‘learn not blame’ culture in every part of the NHS, and ensure there are protections for staff and the public who speak up to save lives.

So we must get the right leaders to create the right culture. A just culture, an open, honest and trustworthy culture. A culture of learn not blame. Saying sorry when we get it wrong, earning the public’s trust, never taking it for granted. Encouraging and supporting people with the bravery to speak up.

There’s no one solution to patient safety. It’s a series of steps. It’s a path of continuous learning and improvement. There will always be more we can do, and we must always keep striving to do better.

I want Britain to be the best country in the world to be born. That begins with making the NHS the best – and safest – place in the world to give birth. I want every parent to experience the same joy the mother of that newborn did, thanks to our brilliant NHS. Thanks to our brilliant NHS staff.

So let us renew that bond of trust with the public. Make it a public, spoken, bond of trust: we will always be open with you, we will always be honest with you.

When things go right and when things go wrong, you can always trust the NHS to be there for you and your family.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on AIDs

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 30 January 2019.

It’s great to be here today at this global forum with such a global audience. And somewhat of a relief.

When George called and asked me to be part of a project that’s very close to Elton John’s heart, I have to admit I feared the worst.

Luckily for us all, it wasn’t a musical collaboration, but Sir Elton’s other great passion. And it’s a passion that I share and fully support.

I pay tribute to the work Sir Elton John has done over so many years, and to the Evening Standard for your leadership and campaigning and support.

HIV and AIDS are challenges that we must rise to together. The injustice, the unfairness, and the sadness they have brought and bring to this day must be tackled by us all.

They are global challenges that require global solutions and global co-operation. But I’m here because every global solution starts locally.

Just up the road from here, in Soho, is the building where perhaps the most important, and most successful, public health campaign in history was born.

In 1986, one of my great predecessors, the Health Secretary Norman Fowler, faced a controversial health challenge. A lot of people felt helpless and there was a lot of tension.

Instead of flinching, he did the right thing and brought together medical experts and the finest minds in ad-land with one clear aim: to stop people dying of AIDS.

I was 7 years old. And I still remember the advert that came out of that meeting. I guess many of you do too.

There was a volcano erupting, a tombstone with the word ‘AIDS’ carved into it in huge letters and a very scary voiceover from John Hurt warning the audience: “don’t die of ignorance”.

And it worked. I, for one, was terrified. I didn’t know what AIDS was – but, like everyone else, I found out.

That campaign saved lives. His decision showed that governments can make a difference.

It was imitated around the world. It stayed true to Fowler’s principle of “fighting the disease, not the person”. And it continues to inspire us about the power of public health interventions.

The Terence Higgins Trust found that countries who were slower to act still had twice as many HIV infections as the UK more than 2 decades later.

Thanks to that campaign, my generation grew up knowing AIDS was a potential death sentence.

That doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Thanks to medical breakthroughs, public health campaigns, breaking down stigma and better education, AIDS is no longer a death sentence here.

I feel proud that Britain has made such progress. But when I think about what’s going on elsewhere, I feel anger that our progress is not yet reflected around the world.

Just look at the statistics: 1.8m children are still living with HIV. Every week, 7,000 young women become infected with HIV.

In 2017, 940,000 people died of AIDS-related diseases. That’s equivalent to all the people living in Manchester and Liverpool.

The fight against HIV is indistinguishable from the fight for equality and the fight against discrimination.

Let’s not pull our punches: discrimination costs lives. Discrimination on gender or race or sexuality makes it harder for people to seek protection and help.

As Oscar Wilde said: “The road to freedom has been long and smeared with the blood of martyrs, and the fight’s not over yet.”

For a generation, the road to justice has been smeared with the blood of those who suffered the injustice of HIV. We have it within our grasp to end that discrimination and to end HIV, and we must not fail.

Britain demonstrated global leadership on AIDS with that ad campaign in the 1980s. And we are determined to do that again.

So today we’re redoubling our commitment to act with a new global campaign.

I’m delighted this campaign is a joint effort between us in health and my brilliant colleague Penny Mordaunt in international development.

Because what the success of that campaign 30 years ago proves to me is that what we do in this city, in this country, can resonate around the world. It can make a difference.

What we do locally in London, in Delhi, in Nairobi, in Maputo, in Kiev, in Atlanta, in other cities, has an impact globally.

We’re all part of the global solution to this global challenge, and none of us have all the answers or can do it alone. So I’m delighted to announce we’re putting in money.

In a minute, Penny will explain what we’re doing internationally, and the money we’re putting in to help other nations.

But setting an example matters. So I’d like to, just for a moment, to share with you a new world-leading initiative here in the UK.

Today we’re setting a new goal: eradicating HIV transmission in England by 2030. No new infections within the next decade, becoming one of the first countries to reach the UN zero-infections target by 2030.

This goal will be stretching it because it means preventing infections in higher-risk and harder to reach groups. But it is a realistic aim.

Part of our approach is our HIV Innovation Fund, which will support 13 local innovative initiatives to reduce the risk of people contracting or passing on HIV, reduce stigma and reach hard-to-reach communities.

Another part will be to review how we commission sexual health services, to make sure they are available to all.

And we’re going to increase access to PrEP for people in high-risk categories. We’re going to double the number of people who can receive the potentially life-saving HIV prevention drug.

The NHS is halfway through a 3-year clinical trial into PrEP, but we’ve decided to expand it early to include 26,000 people because the need has been far greater than anticipated.

From the ultra-local to the truly global, that’s the approach we must take to eliminate AIDS.

Each nation may be at a different stage, face different challenges, possess different resources, but we share the same goal.

And let us just allow ourselves to dream that one day we can bear witness, within a generation, of going from ‘don’t die of ignorance’ to an AIDS-free world.

That goal is now within our grasp. Let us work together to achieve it.

We will fight prejudice, we will fight wrong, we will fight evil, whether the evil of an indiscriminate virus or of an evil discriminatory heart.

We will champion the dignity of all human beings and the dignity of the human spirit. Let us pledge together: we will do our part and we will not fail.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech at World Economic Forum in Davos

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, in Davos on 24 January 2019.

The purpose of the World Economic Forum is to bring together world leaders and big business to solve the world’s most difficult problems.

One of these problems is antimicrobial resistance, where the world has come together over the last 5 years, but so much progress needs to be made, to stop an otherwise terrible future.

As health secretary responsible for one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, I could not look my children in the eyes unless I knew I was doing all in my power to solve this great threat. When we have time to act. But the urgency is now.

Each and every one of us benefits from antibiotics, but we all too easily take them for granted, and I shudder at the thought of a world in which their power is diminished.

Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare. That’s why we need an urgent global response.

The UK has taken a global lead by setting out a 20-year AMR vision explaining the steps we must take nationally and internationally to rise to this challenge. It fits into a pattern of work across the world to keep this driving forward.

The plan incorporates 3 things we all need to do: prevention, innovation, and collaboration.

First: preventing infections is vital. We have today set a target in the UK of cutting resistant infections by 10% within the next 5 years.

We’re going to cut antibiotic use by a further 15% within 5 years by only using antibiotics when absolutely necessary. Everybody can play a part in only using antibiotics when they’re really ill.

And we’re going to work with the livestock industry to build on the amazing 40% reduction in antibiotic usage in just 5 years – 71% in chicken farming, while increasing productivity by 11%.

We’re going to do it through immunisation, better infection control and working with doctors, vets, farmers and patients to prevent unnecessary prescription of antibiotics.

Second: innovation. There hasn’t been a single, new class of antibiotic since the 1980s.

No new innovation in the most basic bedrock of every health service in the world – shocking. And deeply troubling.

Any health secretary or minister, who doesn’t lie awake at night worrying about that last pack of antibiotics, must have a prescription to some seriously strong sleeping pills.

We know the reasons why. Compared to expensive new cancer or heart drugs, putting time and money into developing new antibiotics is commercially unattractive for pharmaceutical companies.

And under the traditional model of revenue linked to volume, there is an added disincentive for pharmaceutical companies with a product that must be conserved.

So we need a new model, one that works with, and incentivises the pharmaceutical industry.

And this is where the NHS, because of its unique position, can take a global lead in pioneering a new payment system, one that reflects the true value of antibiotics to society.

At the heart of it is changing the way we think of antibiotics from a medical product to a medical service.

It’s a service that we all rely on: patients, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies.

So within 6 months, the NHS is going to start work on paying for the service, and security, of having access to critical antibiotics when we need them, rather than hoping there’s a product we can buy in the future.

We’re going to be more of a Spotify subscriber than a vinyl record shopper.

We will pay upfront so pharmaceutical companies know that it’s worthwhile for them to invest the estimated £1 billion it costs to develop a new drug.

We will work with the industry to develop the next generation of antibiotics, ones that are available and accessible to all.

But the only way this system can incentivise innovation globally, is if it is expanded globally.

Which brings me to my third and final point: collaboration.

I am proud of the work the UK has done to secure antimicrobial resistance on the global agenda. We’re playing our part both at home and on the world stage.

Because we recognise that none of us can stand alone against AMR. It won’t be solved by one nation, no single action or intervention.

It is a fight that requires continued collaboration, across borders, now and in the future.

I’ve been meeting health ministers from across the world here to agree further action, and next week the UN inter-agency co-ordination group are publishing their draft recommendations on the next steps needed to tackle AMR.

Hopefully that will take us one step closer.

It is a challenge, I believe, we can rise to if every step forward, we push ourselves further. Together, I’m convinced that with a proper plan we can achieve that goal.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on Air Pollution

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 14 January 2019.

I’m here, as Health Secretary, because air pollution is a health emergency.

When it comes to our health, there’s lots of things we can take personal responsibility for: what we eat, how we exercise and whether we smoke, for instance.

And I’m no nanny state politician. I believe personal responsibility is important.

But around a third of what determines the length of our healthy life is the environment we live in – the things we can’t, alone, do anything about.

And of those environmental causes of healthy life expectancy, the biggest factor is the air we breathe.

The biggest single environmental cause of death is air pollution. Air pollution causes chronic conditions, and shortens lives.

In short: air pollution kills. Clean air saves lives.

And it’s worse than that – because the impact of air pollution is even bigger on children, as their lungs are growing.

I know this. I know more about air pollution than most people.

For a decade, almost, I lived next to a very busy main road.

I’d constantly have to clean the dirt – these horribly black specs that became a carpet – off my window sill.

And to this day I feel guilty that I brought my children into the world living next to the A40.

I’m delighted that I was able to move my family away, but I know not everyone is in a position to do that.

And contrast that with my constituency in West Suffolk where you’re much likelier to breathe fresh, clean air blown in from the sea – it might as well be 2 different worlds.

We are the fifth richest country in the world. We’ve just put an extra £20.5 billion into the NHS. Its budget will be £148 billion a year – £3,000 for every man, woman and child in this country.

Yet air pollution causes around 36,000 deaths each year, and puts extra, preventable strain on the NHS through increased incidents of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and child asthma.

Surely we can afford to stop killing ourselves with entirely preventable filth, and give every child clean air, no matter where they live, so we can give every child the best possible start in life.

Much of the technology exists, and where it doesn’t, let’s invent it.

Every new development and new technology should be clean by design – like the NHS is leading the way on.

We all have a part to play. Cycling or walking short journeys instead of driving not only helps our own health, it reduces the health risk to others by helping cut air pollution.

But this isn’t something we can each do alone. It takes concerted, far-sighted government action, like the visionary action being proposed today by my brilliant friend Michael Gove.

That’s why we are working so closely together. It’s why I feel so strongly about these plans. For your children and for mine.

I’m very proud to do my bit, proud of this Conservative government demonstrating bold, progressive, energetic, popular action this day to improve the lives of millions, to deliver for our citizens, and make Britain fit for the future.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Statement on the NHS Plan

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, in the House of Commons on 7 January 2019.

Mr Speaker, with permission, I would like to make a statement about the NHS Long Term Plan.

The plan sets out how we will guarantee the NHS for the future. It describes how we will use the largest funding settlement in the history of the NHS to strengthen it over the next decade, rising to the challenges of today and seizing the opportunities of the future.

It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on when the NHS was first proposed from this dispatch box by Churchill’s Government in 1944.

When even after the perils of war, infant mortality was nearly 10 times now, when two-thirds of men smoked and life expectancy was just 66.

Ten years before we knew the structure of DNA, 4 decades before the first MRI.

The NHS has throughout its history led the world. But one constant has been that core principle set out by the national government – that the NHS should be available to all, free at the point of use, according to need, not ability to pay.

Mr Speaker, as last year’s 70th anniversary celebrations proved, the NHS is one of our proudest achievements.

We all have an emotional connection to it, our own family story, and we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the people who make the NHS what it is, and work so hard, especially during the winter months when the pressures are greatest.

Because we value the NHS so much, the new £20.5 billion funding settlement announced by the Prime Minister in June provides the NHS with funding growth of 3.4% a year in real terms over the next 5 years.

This means the NHS’s budget will increase in cash terms by £33.9 billion, rising from £115 billion this year to:

£121 billion next year
£127 billion in 2020 to 2021
£133 billion in 2021 to 2022
£140 billion in 2022 to 2023
and then £148 billion in 2023 to 2024

This rise of over , over £1 billion more in cash terms than proposed in June, delivers on our commitment to the NHS and will safeguard the NHS for the long term.

This will help address today’s challenges. The NHS is facing unprecedented levels of demand. Every day, the NHS treats over 1 million people.

Last year, NHS staff carried out 2 million more operations and saw over 11 million more outpatients compared to 2010.

Despite record demand, performance was better this December than last.

As well as addressing today’s challenges, the NHS Long Term Plan sets the NHS up to seize the opportunities of the future.

At the heart of this plan is the principle that prevention is better than cure.

In the future, the NHS will do much more to support people to stay healthy, rather than just treat them when ill.

So, first, the biggest increase in funding – at least £4.5 billion – will go to primary and community care, because GPs are the bedrock of the NHS.

That means patients will have improved access to their GPs and greater flexibility about how they contact them.

Better use of community pharmacists, better access to physiotherapists, and improving the availability of fast and appropriate care to help communities keep people out of hospital altogether.

Next, the principle is that organisations across the NHS, local councils, innovators, and the voluntary sector, will all work more closely together so that they can focus on what patients need.

Next, there will be a renewed clampdown on waste so we can ensure every penny of the extra money goes towards improving services and giving taxpayers the best possible return.

Mr Speaker, ultimately staff are the heart of the NHS – the people who work in the NHS. And the Long Term Plan commits to major reforms to improve working conditions for NHS staff, because morale matters.

Staff will receive better training and more help with career progression. They will have greater flexibility in their work, be supported by the latest technology that works for them, and be helped more with their own mental health and wellbeing.

This already happens in the best parts of the NHS and there’s been a huge amount of work to support the people who work in the NHS. But I want to see it happen evrywhere.

We will bring in training, mentoring and support to develop better leadership in the NHS at all levels.

We will build on work already going on to recruit, train and retain more staff so we can address critical staff shortages.

The plan published today is the next step in our mission to make the NHS a world-class employer and deliver the workforce the NHS needs.

To deliver on these commitments, I have asked Baroness Dido Harding to chair a rapid programme of work, which will engage with staff, employers, professional organisations, trade unions, think tanks and others to build a workforce implementation plan that puts NHS people at the heart of NHS policy and delivery.

Baroness Harding will provide interim recommendations to me by the end of March on how the challenges of supply, reform, culture and leadership can be met, and final recommendations later in the year as part of the broader Implementation Plan that will be developed at all levels to make the Long Term Plan a reality.

Mr Speaker, that is the approach we will be taking to support the NHS over the next decade, but what does it mean for patients and the wider public?

It means patients receiving high-quality care closer to home.

Supporting our growing elderly population to stay healthy and independent for longer.

More personalised care, more social prescribing, empowering people to take greater control and responsibility over their own health through prevention, and personal health budgets.

It means access to new digital services to bring the NHS into the 21st century.

More support for mothers by improving maternity services, more support for parents and carers in the early years of a child’s life so we can be the best place in the world – and this country can be the best place to be born, in every sense.

We will improve how the NHS cares for children and young people with learning disabilities and autism by ending inappropriate hospitalisation, reducing over-medicalisation, and providing quality care in the community.

The NHS will tackle unacceptable health inequalities by targeting support towards the most vulnerable in areas of high deprivation.

And to help make a reality of the goal of parity of esteem between mental and physical health, we are going to increase mental health service budgets not by £2 billion, but £2.3 billion a year.

For the first time ever, we will introduce waiting time targets for community mental health so that people get the treatment they need when they need it.

And we will expand services for young people to include people up to the age of 25.

Mr Speaker, the Long Term Plan focuses on the most common causes of mortality, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease.

The health service will take a more active role in helping people to cut their risk factors: stopping smoking, losing weight and reducing alcohol intake.

The NHS will improve the quality and speed of diagnosis and improve treatment and recovery so we can help people to live well and manage their conditions.

And we will upgrade urgent care so people can get the right care more quickly.

All in all, Mr Speaker, the NHS Long Term Plan has been drawn up by the NHS: by over 2,500 doctors, clinicians, staff, and patients.

It will continue to be shaped and refined by staff and patients through an implementation plan framework in the spring, with events and activities across the country to help people understand what it means for them and their local NHS services.

The experts who wrote the plan say it will lead to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases prevented, 55,000 more people surviving cancer each year – in all, half a million lives saved over the next ten years. Funded by taxpayers, designed by doctors, delivered by this government.

It’s an important moment in the history of the NHS.

Our Long Term Plan will ensure the NHS continues to be there, free at the point of use, based on clinical need, not ability to pay, better resourced with more staff.

Newer technology with new priorities, fit for the future, so it is always there, in our hour of need.

And I am proud to commend this statement to the House.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech on Dementia

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 5 December 2018.

To get a sense of the challenge that dementia poses, I think about a man who, as a celebrated writer, gave such a clear account of the impact of dementia and stood determined not to let it stop him living his life.

Sir Terry Pratchett was a best-selling author of some of the most creative fantasy novels. He continued to write despite his diagnosis of dementia and would not let it stop him. In his words:

It’s possible to live well with dementia. And write best-sellers. Like wot I do.

There is not yet a cure, and as Terry himself described it:

There is no clearly plotted pathway to the course of these diseases. Dementia attacks those facets which make us who we are, and it’s a deeply personal attack that defies prediction.

Today we know much more about the challenge that dementia poses. But what are we doing to meet this challenge?

What have we achieved since the summit here in London in 2013, 5 years ago? Have we done enough to tackle stigma and raise awareness of this disease? Are we doing the research that will help us develop a treatment? Are we helping people to live well with dementia?

Today we’re gathered in London again, 5 years on from David Cameron using the UK’s presidency of the G8 summit to turn the spotlight on dementia.

Here we have a selection of the people who, working together in a common purpose, can bring change in our organisations, our countries and our world. We have eminent scientists, policy makers, innovators, academia, industry, people with dementia and carers, and politicians too. These are just some of the people that we need to bring together.

Without working across boundaries, without the collaborations and sharing of ideas we would not be able to make progress.

Today I want to reflect on some of the achievements we’ve made home and abroad. Let us together renew the call for action to defeat dementia.

In the UK alone, an estimated 850,000 live with dementia, with numbers projected to rise to over 1 million by 2022 and 2 million by 2051.

225,000 people will develop dementia this year, that’s roughly 1 every 3 minutes. And an estimated 1 in 5 people over the age of 85 have dementia. Furthermore, there are over 45,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia in the UK.

Numbers are rising now. As we make progress in tackling the other major killers, then the numbers will rise more so.

Globally, nearly 50 million people were living with dementia in 2017. Research commissioned by Alzheimer’s Disease International highlights that the global cost of dementia will double by 2030, to $2 trillion.

I want to talk about what we are doing in 4 areas:

care and treatment
early diagnosis

On care and treatment, we have made significant progress on staff training to help them care for people with dementia better. This year we reached one million NHS staff receiving dementia training since 2013 and around a million social care staff will have learned about dementia.

And we are investing in dementia research for better care approaches and new treatments. To that end, we are spending £300 million on dementia research between 2015 and 2020.

Through the Dementia Research Institute, Dementia Platforms UK, and through international efforts such as the Dementia Discovery Fund – which stands at a staggering £250 million so far – we are creating an environment to develop new approaches to tackling dementia.

On diagnosis, one of our central achievements has been the improvement in the dementia diagnosis rate. Today, over two-thirds of people living with dementia receive a diagnosis, compared with 2 in 5 in 2010 to 2011.

A timely diagnosis enables an individual and their loved ones to think about the care and support they need. It means they are able to access support and receive treatment quicker.

But things move on. As the science improves we are now thinking about even earlier diagnosis informed by understanding of ‘biomarkers’ to ensure that novel medicines and treatments stand the best chance of success.

On prevention, there is growing recognition that brain health is just as important as heart health: dementia isn’t an inevitable consequence of ageing. Around one-third of Alzheimer’s disease cases may be preventable through improving lifestyle, especially in midlife.

That is why we have now have dementia messages in our NHS health checks. In England everyone between the ages 40 to 74 years who goes for a health check will be given advice on how to reduce their dementia risk.

In the last 5 years, 7 million people attended a health check. That’s a fantastic opportunity to get the message out.

Which brings me to the role of technology. Since 2013 we have a deeper understanding of how technology can transform the lives of those with dementia and their carers.

Launched by the University of Oxford and the Alzheimer’s Society, the ‘GameChanger’ app contains a collection of memory and thinking games that test specific parts of the brain as well as the memory and thinking abilities believed to be affected during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

A fantastic example of using new technology is the Dementia Education and Learning Through Stimulation 2 (DEALTS) programme, which uses virtual reality to help staff understand the challenges someone living with dementia faces in their everyday lives, from shopping to going to the cinema.

Or Paro the robotic seal. Paro uses artificial intelligence to learn from its surroundings and interact with people. Soft and cuddly, yes. And studies show its potential as a therapeutic intervention for people with dementia – it has been shown to improve socialisation for people living with dementia.

In all these areas, there are examples of good progress. It will take time. But there are still things we can do now. We are seeing a change in the way people think, talk and act on dementia.

The Dementia Friends initiative has been successful in raising awareness. We have over 2.7 million people who have become Dementia Friends, and over 400 communities committing to becoming dementia friendly in the UK.

Supported by my department, the Alzheimer’s Society co-ordinates the Global Dementia Friends Network, which now has 44 countries developing similar programmes, with nearly 16 million Dementia Friends across all continents.

In Brighton, the Dementia Action Alliance is partnering with Chess in Schools and Communities to give free chess lessons to older people, helping them keep their minds active while giving them opportunities to socialise.

Participating in music can help bring people together and stimulate memories – through Singing for the Brain for example.

Or simple ideas like the Southbank Centre using working poets to run a poetry course for people with dementia and their families.

Common-sense interventions like these are simple yet effective. And I want to see more of them.

Change is happening. Today’s event is a way of sharing all this great practice. It’s a way of restating our determination to make even more progress towards that goal of transformed care and support, of vastly improved social awareness and the first treatments by 2025.

I will work with any nation, any partner who has innovative solutions to defeat dementia. We must not become complacent, we must all keep an open mind to embrace the new opportunities offered by technology and science.

But let’s not lose sight of the simple message from Sir Terry Pratchett:

“It’s possible to live well with dementia”.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech on Health Technology

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, on 28 November 2018.

It’s great to be in a room full of fellow tech enthusiasts. Not least because I imagine most of you will have downloaded the Matt Hancock app?

Some of you? Anyone? Well, it’s currently rated 3.5 out of 5 on the App Store and if you need any convincing, just listen to the top-rated review:

Due to low storage I had to delete my Facebook app, Twitter app, photos app, camera and phone to make room for this. Worth it! It’s the only app I’ll ever need from now on.

From hearing about what Matt Hancock thinks about the OAP utility bill allowance, to hearing about what Matt Hancock thinks about the OAP free bus fare allowance, this really does satisfy my needs for constant global information as a millennial in the Digital Information Age. Delete your phone, get this app instead. You won’t regret it!

It’s great to have a satisfied customer. So, you’re welcome, ‘The Gruesome Twosome’. Although, I’m not sure the app’s sarcasm filter is working quite as it should.

So, yes, hello, I’m Matt Hancock the app IRL (in real life). And yes, I know my love of tech is sometimes a source of amusement, but let me tell you why I believe in the power of tech – and here I want to borrow from the great Steve Jobs.

Steve said, and this was in 1994, long before Apple changed the world:

It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people. Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.

A faith in people. A belief that, given the power, people want to make their lives better and make other people’s lives better too.

I share Steve’s optimism. Because, throughout history, almost every technological leap has made people’s lives better:

From the printing press, to the electric light, to the internet. From the discovery of penicillin, to x-ray machines, to keyhole surgery. We’re better off and healthier because of technological progress. Because someone had faith and a vision.

That’s why I believe in tech, because I believe in people. And I’m optimistic that with the right tools in the NHS we can improve people’s lives by improving people’s health.

So today I want to talk to you about 3 things:

predictive prevention
personal responsibility
That’s a lot of ‘Ps’ so let me take each in turn.

First: personalisation.

The digital revolution of the past couple of decades has unleashed our imaginations and our creativity like never before, ushered in much, and often profound, cultural and social change. From how we work, to how we shop, to how we date.

If there is any one overriding theme of the digital revolution it’s increased choice. You don’t walk into a record shop to buy a top-40 single. You click a button to listen to any record ever made.

But all that choice can be overwhelming. And in the past few years we’ve seen a move to increasingly personalised services from the likes of Amazon to Netflix to Apple to many others. Suggestions based on our past behaviour, but not limited to what we’ve already done, as algorithms have become more intelligent.

Now, there are legitimate concerns about privacy and the sharing of data, and it is absolutely right that government should ensure there is adequate and sensible legislation in place, and that laws are followed.

But I’m a firm believer in looking at what people actually do, rather than what they say they do. And if you look at people’s everyday behaviour, they like personalisation. They use personalised services.

Over a third of Amazon purchases are recommendations. Around 80% of what Netflix viewers watch are recommendations made by algorithms.

And I’m sure Doug (Beck, Apple VP) would be able to share some similarly impressive data from Apple on the popularity of personalisation.

People are choosing personalised services to help them narrow down and make the best choice. They’re opting in because personalisation offers more tailored, more targeted services.

And in a hyper-connected, digital world with limitless choice, with endless opportunities, people still want to feel like individuals. They don’t want to feel like they’re part of the crowd. They want to be treated as individuals.

That’s why I believe, if you scratch the surface, most millennials share my political outlook of liberal conservatism – even if they don’t know it yet.

So how does personalisation relate to health? Well, we know that more than 80% of 16 to 24-year-olds would prefer to access the health service through an app.

But personalised healthcare is more than just meeting people’s expectations of increased choice – as important as that is. It’s what’s best for them. It’s giving people better outcomes.

In the 20th century, when the NHS was born, it made sense to view the population as one homogeneous mass when designing health programmes because the margin of victory was so great.

Even with a one-size-fits-all approach, you were going to see improvement. And we have seen huge improvements because of the efforts of our hugely talented and dedicated NHS staff. Heart disease is down, strokes are down, people are living longer and healthier lives.

But if we look to the future, that approach isn’t going to work because the margins are becoming smaller, the challenges are changing.

So the focus of the system has to move from treating single acute illnesses to care for multiple chronic conditions and promoting the health of the whole individual. The 21st century NHS must try and prevent people from becoming patients in the first place.

To get the best possible return on the record £20.5 billion a year we’re putting into the NHS, we must change the focus to prevention and empower people to take more care of their own health. Because all the evidence proves that prevention is better than cure.

So let me turn to predictive prevention because this is where the possibilities offered by tech get really exciting.

We know that genetics and lifestyle choices make up around a half of what determines an individual’s likelihood of good health.

Right now, in Cambridge, we’re on the cusp of sequencing the 100,000th genome, on our way to a target of 5 million genomes.

What this means is we will be able to predict who is vulnerable to which disease and how we can prevent it, or best design a drug or a treatment to give them the best possible chance of recovery. Cutting-edge healthtech in our NHS.

And we must stay at the forefront of this and other emerging technologies like digital medicines because their potential is so huge.

In the US, the FDA has approved the first ever digital pill. Fit with a tiny sensor, smaller than a grain of sand, it uses a smartphone app to transmit to the doctor when the pill has passed through the patient’s system.

A nice extra? No. Because the pill is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, so being certain a patient has taken their medication is absolutely vital.

Now, Andy Thompson of Proteus Digital Health, one of the firms behind the pill, forecasts that by 2030 patients will be diagnosed at home using medical sensors built into their mobile phones.

Doctors will be able to use digital devices and medicines, wearables and AI to predict, prevent and treat people with precision. Specific and accurate not general and variable – that’s the medicine of the future.

And it’s not far off in the future. It’s here and now. Thousands of patients have already used digital medicines. Within the next decade most drugs will be smart drugs. So we must get ready. We must make sure the NHS is ready for the healthtech revolution.

That’s why we’re developing new digital approaches to prevention programmes. We’re looking at how we can improve NHS health checks, using patient-generated real-time data to spot early signs of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia, and create personalised, targeted interventions to treat people and help them change behaviours to cut risk factors.

Public Health England is looking at how we can use referrals through social media and incentives delivered through digital platforms to promote physical activity and help people quit smoking and lower alcohol consumption.

So that could mean personalised incentives such as free gym and swimming pool access, cinema tickets or discount vouchers for healthy food.

And the Good Thinking mental health project in London is analysing social media usage and search history to identify people who may be at risk of, or are already suffering from anxiety, depression and low-level mental health conditions. That way they can be helped through digital apps, online cognitive behavioural therapy, or face-to-face and we can prevent their condition becoming more serious.

These are just some of the new and emerging ideas on predictive prevention that we’re looking at in the NHS.

And I welcome the insights from the RAND study on how we can promote better behaviours. I am open to any idea, from anyone, and will look anywhere for what works. What’s best for the NHS is what’s best for patients.

And we have to be honest: we don’t have all the solutions within the NHS. So we have to be open to working with others and open to change because, ultimately, predictive prevention is a conscious decision not to stand still.

The public’s expectations of public health services have increased as technology has advanced.

More than half the British public have searched online for health information from diet and nutrition, to exercise and fitness, to concerns about an illness or an injury, and how to treat it.

Now, we all know about the perils of Dr Google and how a stubbed toe can be misdiagnosed as a terminal condition, but what it shows is that people are increasingly taking an active interest in their health and fitness.

People want to take greater personal responsibility for their health. And they must take greater personal responsibility for their health. Because at the heart of our NHS there’s a social contract, which is the third and final thing I want to talk about.

Think of it as the terms and conditions that few of us ever read. We know they’re important. We know we agree, but what do they actually say?

The social contract that underpins the NHS is this:

We, the citizens, have a right to the healthcare we need, when we need it, free at the point of use.

But, we have a responsibility to pay our taxes to fund it, and to use the health service carefully, with consideration for others, and to comply with medical advice to look after ourselves.

Rights are important. But equally important are responsibilities. And we all have a personal responsibility to ensure the NHS is there for future generations.

So, I will protect your rights and work with the NHS to build a better and more sustainable health and social care system. Government has guaranteed your rights and is putting the single, largest cash injection into the NHS ever to build a better and more sustainable health and social care system.

But the final component, the most important part, is the public.

Only by every citizen taking personal responsibility for managing their own health, by making full use of the predictive prevention and personalised health services we’re introducing, can we build a better and more sustainable health and social care system.

One that’s at the forefront of new technology. One that can rise to the challenges of an ageing society. And one that’s there for our children and our grandchildren.

In short, an NHS that’s fit for the future.

And we achieve that not by penalising people, but by empowering people. By giving them the right tools and trusting them to make the right decisions.

Not Big Brother and more nanny state, but an equal partner with a shared stake.

Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand with having faith in people. A faith to do what’s best for them, what’s best for others, and what’s best for our NHS.

Matt Hancock – 2010 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Matt Hancock, the Conservative MP for West Suffolk, in the House of Commons on 7 June 2010.

It is an honour to be called to speak and to follow the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Dr Whiteford), who spoke so passionately about her new constituency. She also spoke about a subject to do with the constitution that I, too, wish to address-the devolution of power to people more locally. That is a thread that binds together all of us on this side of the House. We believe that the constitution has become too centralised and that local people should be given more of a say. That is certainly true in West Suffolk.

West Suffolk has been represented for the past 18 years by Richard Spring, who was well loved in the constituency, worked tirelessly for it and was admired and respected in all parts of the House. I cannot recall the number of times that, during the election campaign, I knocked on a door and the person who answered said, “Oh, you are following Richard Spring. Well, you’ve got big shoes to fill.” If I can manage to fill those shoes and do as good a job for West Suffolk as he did over the past 18 years, I will have done a very good job indeed. I say from the bottom of my heart that that is what I intend to do.

Richard Spring made the decision early on in his time as an MP to, as he put it, “out-liberal the Liberals” in local campaigning. Now that I find myself on the same Benches as that party, perhaps it is appropriate that I have learned a trick or two from the campaigning that he undertook locally to ensure that West Suffolk was well represented in the House. His biggest impact on the constituency was undoubtedly in the town of Haverhill, which is the largest in the constituency. It has a long history and was in the Domesday Book. It is now a town on the up, largely thanks to his work and that of St Edmundsbury borough council. It has companies such as Genzyme that export to China, which is truly where the future of our manufacturing economy will come from.

West Suffolk is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful constituencies in our country. I have heard the claims of others, such as my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman)-I look forward to challenging his claim to have the most beautiful constituency in the country. With villages such as Ixworth, Stanton, Bardwell, Hundon and Wixoe, and the Stour valley village of Thurlow where I now live with my family, all in all there are 42 villages of thatched roofs and pink cottages all through Constable country, which inspired the great artist.

As well as the most beautiful, West Suffolk is one of the largest constituencies in England, and that large area is united by the poor transport links that we find throughout it. The A11, which serves the whole of Norfolk, desperately needs the final nine miles to be dualled to provide better transport and a better economy to the whole east of England. At the most northerly point of the constituency, Brandon is a peaceful market town, but that peace is destroyed as the holiday traffic runs up the high street. Members will not be surprised that as a new MP, I support the fully locally funded proposal to bring a bypass to Brandon. However, they can imagine my horror when, in preparing for this speech, I read the maiden speech of my predecessor 18 years ago and found that he, too, had argued that there was a desperate need for a bypass for Brandon. I hope that it will not take a whole 18 years to bring it about.

Just south of Brandon is Mildenhall, famous for the Roman Mildenhall treasure and now, of course, home to a large United States air force base. Finally, I turn to the town of Newmarket. It is undoubtedly the most famous town in West Suffolk, and its heritage lives and breathes in the 62 studs and racing yards that are woven through the town centre. It is a unique town with a unique character, and it has unique needs. For instance, it was once illegal to blow one’s nose on Newmarket high street. That rule was in place for the benefit not of the local people but of the bloodstock that ran up and down the street.

Such attention to local need is unfortunately in marked contrast to the one-size-fits-all, we-know-best attitude that Newmarket has seen over the past 13 years, and it is to that point that I turn in the final moments of my speech. For many years, the constitution has endured a creeping centralism. In particular, in planning, John Prescott’s regional spatial strategies have tried to turn every market town into a clone town. The powers of local people to resist have been stripped away, but already the new Government are succeeding in giving power back to the people. The regional spatial strategy was forcing through an inappropriate proposal to build thousands of homes and an industrial park in the middle of Newmarket, which the council found itself powerless to reject-but no more. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has given councils the power to make decisions for themselves once again. The people were given their voice and their democratically elected councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

So there we have it. After less than a month in office, the new Government are already improving our constitution to make it more local, more responsive to the people and less in hock to unelected, unaccountable quangos. A law and a quango cannot solve every ill of this world, but by trusting people and sharing responsibility, we can make a start. That principle binds us together on these Benches. I commend the Queen’s Speech to the House.