NHS must change to deal with millions who have many major illnesses


Getting sick with a major condition is a sad fact of life for many of us at some stage. And all too often that shattering news can soon be followed by the diagnosis of a second serious health issue.

Medical evidence shows that patients suffering from the six most common major health conditions are likely to have at least two of those illnesses.

Yet for too long our healthcare services have treated these conditions separately.

Joining up health and care is crucial in ensuring patients get the most effective treatment possible for their individual needs. Our forthcoming Major Conditions Strategy will set the blueprint for doing that.

The plan is to work out how those who suffer these major conditions – cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill health and musculoskeletal disorders – can be better treated with care and diagnoses that consider the real-life impact of experiencing more than one of these conditions.

But to achieve that we need to all work together. The Government, the NHS, researchers, scientists, charities and the wider public must collaborate to do their bit in the search for better treatment and, ultimately, cures.

I know Daily Express readers are playing their part, generously supporting this newspaper’s campaigns to beat cancer.

It makes sense scientifically to consider people’s health needs in the round and this strategy will focus on how we can do more to understand patients’ experiences.

By adopting this approach, we can also make use of the latest technology – like improved data systems – to treat conditions together. And, of course, we can look at how we diagnose illnesses earlier or even prevent people becoming unwell in the first place.

As part of this strategy, we’ll be talking to experts in the industry about the smartest ways to help individuals with these conditions to live longer, healthier and more prosperous lives which will cut NHS waiting lists – one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities.

But crucially we need to hear from you too. We want to make sure Express readers have a say

If you have been impacted by any of these conditions, we need to hear from you. Together we can tackle cruel illnesses like cancer, dementia and diabetes and deliver better health outcomes for us all.

  • Steve Barclay, Health and Social Care Secretary

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