An individual’s health used to be seen as that individual’s responsibility.
However, it is now understood – and understood very clearly – that health is not only a social but also an economic cause for concern.
Here in Jersey healthcare is one of the major costs to the public purse. This is as it should be, but it is argued that health spending cannot increase exponentially.
As the draft plan suggests, one of the ways of containing health spending is to recognise that a major shift in health and social care policy, concentrating on prevention rather than cure, must be the way forward.
All Islanders should be encouraged to look closely at the way in which they lead their lives and at changes which could increase their chances of avoiding the major killers of the 21st century: heart disease and cancer.
Lifestyle changes are, moreover, capable of minimising the effects of illnesses such as diabetes and depression. In technical terms, the draft plan urges a shift of emphasis from secondary to primary care so that people manage their own health rather than relying principally on professionals.
• Picture: Keeping fit is one way of preventing or minimising the effects of some illnesses