DISCUSSIONS over the future of the NHS in East Lancashire have been delayed.

The joint committee of CCGs from Lancashire and South Cumbria had been due to meet on Thursday and members were due to discuss the new NHS long term plan.

But the plan’s publication was delayed until Monday and the meeting has been cancelled as a result.

Focus on the publication, which had originally been timed for December, would have enabled system leaders and committee members to examine some of the current work taking place in Lancashire and South Cumbria on several of the plan’s priorities as well as holding a discussion about the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria approach to engagement with the public and other stakeholders.

The next meeting of the Joint Committee of CCGs is scheduled for Thursday, March 7 from 1pm to 3pm.

Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, applauded the announcement of the NHS Long-Term Plan.

The 10-year plan has been created to ensure the additional £20.5 billion investment into the NHS prioritises the prevention of illness and ensures the sustainability of the NHS far into the future.

The largest increase in funding will go towards primary and community care, including GPs. A key ambition of the plan is the goal to improve cancer survival rates by using earlier and more rapid diagnosis, new screening programmes and an offer of genomic testing to all people with cancer – so that 55,000 more people survive cancer each year in 10 years’ time.

Mr Evans said: “It is absolutely right that emphasis of the long-term plan is placed on prevention, it is important keep people out of hospital where possible and provide world leading community care. Huge sums of money are being made available for early cancer detection and to increase access to mental health services for people of all ages, these are massive contemporary issues for our NHS.”

Included in the plan is also the proposal to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease – over 10 years, it is hoped the plan will prevent up to 100,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases and ensure 1,600 stroke patients avoid long-term disability each year.

Further emphasis will be placed on fighting inequalities, including the expansion of services for veterans and ‘care after custody’ services.

Mr Evans added: “This plan has addressed some of the blind spots in our health service which have traditionally been overlooked. By providing more support in the areas of prevention and early detection more people can live for longer and enjoy a healthy, happy life.”

The long-term plan will also make digital health services a mainstream part of the NHS, meaning that in five-years’ time every NHS patient will be able to access a digital GP service.