Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Government invites views on tackling major conditions in England [May 2023]

The press release issued by the Department of Health and Social Care on 17 May 2023.

The major conditions call for evidence has been launched for views on how best to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage the 6 major conditions.

  • Call for evidence launched to inform strategy on how best to prevent, diagnose and manage 6 major groups of conditions
  • Major conditions strategy will cover cancer, mental health and dementia
  • Strategy will take long-term view of how to improve health service for conditions putting most strain on NHS

A call for evidence has been launched to invite views on how best to prevent, early diagnose, treat and manage the 6 major groups of conditions which drive ill health and contribute to the burden of disease in the population in England.

The 6 major health conditions – cancer, cardiovascular diseases including stroke and diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill health and musculoskeletal disorders – affect millions of people in England with data showing that one in 4 suffer from 2 or more of these major long-term conditions.

Recognising the pressure these conditions are putting on the NHS, the government is seeking views on a new strategy to tackle them that will focus not only on treatment but also on prevention.

Launched today, the major conditions strategy: call for evidence will inform a landmark major conditions strategy and recognising the country’s ageing population, it will help people to stay in better health for longer.

Those suffering from one or more of the conditions outlined are urged to come forward to provide insight into their experiences of managing their health needs. The government is particularly interested in hearing from those who suffer from, care for or provide treatment to people who suffer from multiple long-term conditions. This is to ensure the major conditions strategy is one that will better prevent, diagnose, manage and treat these conditions.

Contributions are also encouraged from those working in NHS bodies, local government, the voluntary and community sector, and wider industry, on how best to tackle suffering from one or more of these major conditions. Particularly, it is seeking perspectives on how government and the NHS can work better together with different organisations and sectors to improve the nation’s health.

The major conditions strategy signals the government’s intention to improve care and outcomes for those living with multiple conditions and an increasing complexity of need. For example:

  • people with diabetes are twice as likely to have depression
  • 9 in 10 dementia patients have another long-term condition
  • half of people with a heart or lung condition have musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain

It will seek to reduce care and treatment that are too narrowly focused on specific diseases or organs in the body and consider how to treat people as a whole.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said:

Patients often live with more than one major condition, so it’s vital that we do all we can to understand how best to manage their care.

I encourage patients, carers and healthcare professionals to contribute to our call for evidence so we can ensure our major conditions strategy is as targeted and patient-focused as possible.

Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, said:

We want to hear from as many people as possible affected by these conditions in our call for evidence. It’ll help us join up care across the NHS and mean better treatment for millions of people.

It’s also really important that we hear from professionals working in areas like dementia or cancer too. Their frontline experience will be invaluable to make sure our strategy includes plans which will really work in practice.

Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

Since the previous dementia strategy expired in 2020, the number of people living with the condition in the UK, and the challenges they face every day, have only continued to grow. Thanks to progress in research, we’re on the cusp of a new era in dementia, with 2 new treatments for early Alzheimer’s disease showing promise in the last 6 months, and revolutionary new ways to diagnose it on the horizon. Bringing these into routine use will be challenging, and the major conditions strategy presents a huge opportunity to address these challenges and transform our health system.

It’s vital this new strategy leads to real, rapid and meaningful changes for people affected by, or at risk of, dementia. No family should ever have to go through the heartbreak of this condition, but unfortunately many more will unless we seize the opportunities our researchers are creating. We hope that by sharing their experiences and insight, people affected by dementia, their carers, and those working within the health system, can help bring about the change we all so desperately need to see.

Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma + Lung UK, said:

It’s encouraging to see the government taking action on respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lung conditions are the third biggest killer in the UK, but historically haven’t received the attention they deserve, so the major conditions strategy is a big opportunity to change that.

Therefore, we want everyone with a lung condition or who works in respiratory health to come forward and have their say.

This call for evidence complements and builds on the 2 calls for evidence undertaken last year on mental health and cancer, the summaries of which have been published today and incorporates previous work looking at health disparities and dementia, while the department will be publishing a separate national suicide prevention strategy later this year.

Submissions to these previous calls for evidence will directly inform the development of the major conditions strategy, which will also examine health inequalities across England, exploring how the government can assist integrated care systems to ensure they are tackling disparities in their local areas, addressing variations in health and care.

Looking beyond the immediate pressures on the NHS, the strategy will focus on what can be delivered now as well as over the coming years to improve outcomes as the country continues to recover from the pandemic. The strategy will also build on work already done to tackle waiting lists for planned NHS treatments through the NHS elective recovery plan and unlock the next generation of medicines and diagnostics through the government’s ambitious life science missions.

The call for evidence is open for 6 weeks and will close at 11.59pm on 27 June.