Health Committee publishes Report on managing Long-Term Conditions

On Thursday 3 July 2014, the Health Select Committee of which Valerie Vaz, Member of Parliament for Walsall South is a member, published its Second Report of Session 2014-15 into the Management of Long-Term Conditions.

Valerie Vaz MP said:

“In the NHS in England, 15 million patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and asthma account for 70% of the annual expenditure. The Committee found that demographic and cost pressures on the NHS from patients with long-term conditions is only likely to increase in the coming years. The Committee heard that increasingly patients do not have a single long-term condition but live with two or more conditions. This complicates treatment and adds to costs.”

“I’m concerned that the original plan to develop a national strategy for long term conditions was explicitly cross-government in its perspective and involved participants from 12 Government departments. This attempt to develop a joined-up, government-wide approach to the management of long-term conditions has been dropped following the transfer of policy responsibility from the Department of Health to NHS England. I would like to see The Department and NHS England should clarify how cross-departmental working is to be continued in the absence of a cross-Government strategy.”

“The Committee concerned that the growth in demand arising from long-term conditions and associated patterns of co-morbidity has not been matched by the urgency with which the Department of Health and NHS England have developed their strategic responses.”

“The Committee made a number of Recommendations:

• the changes it considers necessary to better support people with long-term conditions;
• the strategic objectives such changes are meant to fulfil;
• the plan it has devised for achieving such changes;
• the steps to be taken to engage other relevant Government departments in the delivery of such changes, and
• the milestones it has set for delivery.”

“The evidence the Committee has taken on diabetes services demonstrates the need for a general rebalancing of commissioning and care pathways for long-term conditions. These should provide treatment which is integrated across primary, community, secondary and social care settings. The Committee was concerned with reports of apparent downgrading of the role of, and reductions in the numbers of, specialist nurses. Their expertise is vital in supporting an integrated system of care for diabetes, from self-management through to acute and specialist services.”

“The objective of the health and care system in treating people with long-term conditions should be to improve the quality of life of the person.”

The Health Select Committee’s Report on Managing Long-Term Conditions can be found here: