Major Conditions Strategy Event
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Health (APHG) met on Wednesday 22nd March 2023 in the House of Commons to discuss the recently announced Major Conditions Strategy and to listen to the views on the Strategy from key voices of the sector. This session brought together representatives of the NHS, research community and industry to discuss and understand what opportunities this strategy could provide for each condition and to learn what the Strategy needs to consider, to ensure that each condition is prioritised.
The roundtable discussion, chaired by Lord Bethell, featured the following speakers:
- Dr Adrian James – President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Professor Bola Owolabi – Director of the National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme at NHS England
- Dr Owen Jackson – Director of Policy at Cancer Research UK
- Professor Patrick Callaghan – LSBU’s Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Professor of Mental Health Science
- Sarah Sweeney – Interim Chief Executive of National Voices
Earlier this year the Government announced a new strategy which would cover all Major Conditions. This overarching strategy aims to focus on the support to the increasing number of people living with multiple major conditions and would see health and care services, local government and NHS bodies required to work more closely together in order for people to live healthy, fulfilled, independent and longer lives.
The Strategy is set to cover key conditions and is aimed towards patients receiving ‘whole person’ care. The conditions outlined include cancers; cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and diabetes; chronic respiratory diseases; dementia; mental ill health; and musculoskeletal disorders.
The following recommendations were made:
- There is a call for the Strategy to have an emphasis on prevention. This includes early intervention and prevention specifically in children and young people's mental and physical health. And to include a secondary prevention approach for our children and young people for a condition’s strategy.
- There is a need for a realistic overhaul of funding available to mental health and diagnostic services. The current model of funding for mental health services is unsustainable, with only 7% of research funding being dedicated to mental illness, there is a need to ensure that there is equal funding in relation to research. In addition to further investment for cancer diagnostic services and community diagnostic centres.
- There is a call to focus the Strategy on patient experience and to ensure it is in a co-designed mode with diverse communities. Furthermore, there is a call to remove some of those bureaucratic barriers to accessing services such as improving re-referral system and ensuring diverse communication mediums between primary and secondary care.
- As well as the Major Conditions Strategy, there is still a call for the Government to commit to releasing individual long-term strategies for cancer, mental health, disparities and dementia to ensure that these conditions and its challenges can be addressed comprehensively.