A package of measures for maternity services promises to make the NHS ‘the best place in the world to give birth’.

More nurses and specialist staff will be brought in over the next five years as part of a plan to redesign neonatal services from pregnancy to early motherhood.

The plans include allowing new mothers to use a smartphone to access the traditional ‘red book’ issued by the NHS for each new baby, containing their vital details.

Up to 285,000 new mothers will have better access to physiotherapy. There will also be moves to improve breastfeeding rates.

The measures are expected to halve stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths and serious brain injuries in newborn babies by 2025, saving 4,000 babies’ lives.

Alcohol and tobacco addiction are two of the biggest causes of early death, and NHS chiefs believe they can boost the health of the nation by encouraging Britons to make better lifestyle choices.

Doctors and nurses will be on alert for suspected problem drinkers among casualty cases or those in wards or clinics, and patients could be referred to alcohol care teams. Smokers in hospital will be offered prescription drugs or counselling.

The NHS wants to double the number of volunteers to up to 156,000 over the next three years. Health chiefs believe they have a huge impact on patients and staff, while greatly enhancing their own lives.

Volunteering has been shown to help older people stay active and reduce cognitive decline while younger recruits can gain invaluable experience. The health service plan will urge hospitals to recruit many more younger volunteers, particularly those with mental health problems, learning difficulties or from deprived communities.

NHS England will encourage hospitals to offer more volunteering opportunities and by investing £2.3million in Helpforce – the charity the Daily Mail launched its Christmas campaign with, encouraging more than 30,000 readers to sign up to give their time to the NHS.

The NHS will boost mental health care for under-18s with conditions such as eating disorders, self-harm and depression.

Health officials have agreed to increase the proportion of all those with a diagnosable mental health condition who get treated from one in four (25 per cent) to one in three (35 per cent) by 2020-21. The plans include new waiting-time targets for mental health treatment and stronger support for young adults, including a 24/7 helpline.

An extra £2.3billion has been promised to pay for talking therapies for an additional 350,000 young people and 380,000 adults within five years. Young people will no longer be forced to restart their treatment with adult services when they turn 18.

Theresa May set the NHS a target to diagnose three quarters of cancer cases early within ten years, saving 55,000 lives.

At present, 52 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages one and two, when the tumour is small and has not spread to surrounding tissue. This will increase to 75 per cent by 2028. Screening programmes will be more accessible, easier to use, and based on the latest research and technology.

New tests for bowel cancer, mobile lung screening units, and the rollout of rapid diagnostic centres across the country with same-day testing will offer cutting edge options for early diagnosis to those at risk.

A low-calorie ‘soup and shake’ diet to reverse Type 2 diabetes will be prescribed to 5,000 patients to reverse the condition.

NHS England is putting the three-month, 800-calories-a-day regime at the heart of its diabetes strategy after half of patients went into remission in trials. The number of Britons with diabetes has doubled in 20 years. Almost 3.7million people are living with diabetes, up from 1.9million in 1998. 

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