Policy

Improving quality of life for people with long term conditions

Issue

In England, more than 15 million people have a long term condition - a health problem that can’t be cured but can be controlled by medication or other therapies. This figure is set to increase over the next 10 years, particularly those people with 3 or more conditions at once. Examples of long term conditions include high blood pressure, depression, dementia and arthritis.

Long term conditions can affect many parts of a person’s life, from their ability to work and have relationships to housing and education opportunities. Care of people with long term conditions accounts for 70% of the money we spend on health and social care in England.

Actions

We want England to be one of the best countries in Europe at helping people with long term conditions live healthily and independently.

Planning to help people with long term conditions

In 2012 we published the first NHS Mandate, which sets out what NHS England must achieve. It gives NHS England responsibility for coming up with plans to help make life better for people with long term conditions by:

  • helping them to get the skills to manage their own health
  • agreeing with them a care plan that is based on their personal needs
  • making sure their care is better coordinated

Giving people with long term conditions what they want

In 2012, we asked people for their views, ideas and experiences on long term conditions. 478 people put comments on our website, and other people sent their comments by post or put them on the doc2doc online forum.

We also got the views of people who attended a consultation event in March 2012. The people who attended included people with long term conditions, healthcare professionals, charities and representatives from government.

We have given people’s comments to NHS England, so that it can consider them when making plans to help people with long term conditions.

Using technology to manage long term conditions

We want to help people to manage their own health condition as much as possible. Telehealth and telecare services (which include items like blood pressure monitors and alarms for old people who have fallen over and need help) are a useful way of doing this.

We carried out research into the benefits of telehealth and telecare in the management of long term conditions. We found that correct use of technology reduced:

  • death rates by 45%
  • visits to accident and emergency departments by 15%
  • emergency admissions to hospital by 20%

At least 3 million people with long term conditions could benefit from using telehealth and telecare. Along with the telehealth and telecare industry, we are using the 3millionlives campaign to encourage greater use of remote monitoring information and communication technology in health and social care.

Background

In 2012, we said that we would produce a national strategy for long term conditions.

Since then, we have changed the way the health system in England works. Other organisations such as NHS England and Public Health England now have responsibility for parts of the health service that we previously had responsibility for.

As long term conditions are the responsibility of NHS England, we will no longer produce a national strategy.

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