This week, Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, announced the Government’s intention to publish a Major Conditions Strategy. He stated that this work held added importance as more of us are living with multiple major conditions which therefore presents a major opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people.
Mr Barclay declared that the Strategy would set out a strong and coherent policy agenda that sets out a shift to integrated, whole-person care, building on measures that have been taken forward through the NHS Long Term Plan.
Interventions set out in the Strategy will also aim to alleviate pressure on the health system, as well as support the Government’s objective to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce ill-health related labour market inactivity.
The major conditions that are set to be tackled are:
- Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and diabetes
- Chronic respiratory diseases
- Mental ill health
- Musculoskeletal disorders
These areas account for around 60% of total Disability Adjusted Life Years in England and combatting them is critical to achieving the Government’s pledge to gain five extra years of Healthy Life Expectancy by 2035.
Mr Barclay claimed that the NHS workforce model needs to adapt, to reflect that the NHS is caring for patients with increasingly complex needs and with multiple long-term conditions, with greater emphasis on generalist medical skills to complement existing deep specialist expertise in the NHS. The Major Conditions Strategy and the upcoming NHS Long Term Workforce Plan work will together set out the standards patients should expect in the short term and over a five year timeframe.
He noted that this demonstrated a shift to a more preventative model in the NHS by preserving good health and detecting disease early to improve health standards. Utilising innovation technology will help to achieve this and reduce demand on NHS services down the line as a result.
Mr Barclay stated that ICSs will be central to achieving these objectives as all organs of healthcare in England must coordinate to obtain a succesfull outcome. The Strategy will set out the supporting and enabling interventions to ensure that ICSs and the organisations within them maximise the opportunities to tackle clusters of disadvantage in their local areas where they exist, informed by the Hewitt Review.
Mr Barclay signalled that he will set-out how stakeholders can contribute shortly and also intends to publish an interim report on the Strategy in the summer.