Secretary of State for Health and Social Care publishes plans for Major Conditions Strategy
Yesterday the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care published a Written Ministerial Statement on plans for a Major Conditions Strategy in England. We welcome the emphasis placed on person-centred care, recognition of the need for services to work together to deliver positive outcomes, and the focus on mental health and ending health disparities.
We also welcome continuing work under the Rare Disease Framework and rare disease strategies across the UK.
However, we have some concerns:
- It is our understanding that the proposed Major Conditions Strategy will replace several specific pieces of work that had been expected in areas including cancer, mental health, dementia and health disparities with a single strategy for the next five years. How this will be enacted is unclear, particularly when a general election within the next two years is a certainty. The statement contains no details about how the strategy will be funded.
- The scope of the strategy is also unclear. It stated aim is to tackle “the major conditions which contribute to the burden of disease” in England, including stroke and dementia, which are neurological conditions, and cancers, which could include neurological cancers.
- It is unclear how this strategy will support the development of workforce and services for the millions of people affected by neurological conditions that aren’t addressed in this remit, how it will address neurological conditions comorbidities exist, or how it will work alongside the Acquired Brain Injury Strategy.
- There are over 600 neurological conditions. Each person’s experience of their neurological conditions different, and neurological conditions can affect anyone at any time, and at any age. A person with a neurological condition may need to access several different services and require multidisciplinary support from a range of healthcare professionals during their lifetime. The Major Conditions Strategy must make provision for people and services to work together to provide fully integrated care across health and care.
Supporting the neuro community
Georgina Carr, Chief Executive at The Neurological Alliance, commented: “We welcome the emphasis placed on person-centred care, recognition of the need for services to work together to deliver positive outcomes, and the focus on mental health and ending health disparities in the Major Conditions Strategy. However, It is disappointing to have so much strategic work set aside, including the health disparities white paper, mental health plan, and dementia strategy, given the huge amount of input from across the neurological community, including The Neurological Alliance and our 90+ member organisations.
The Government must clarify how the strategy will support the development of workforce and services for the millions of people living with neurological conditions and provide fully integrated care. We stand ready to work with the Government to back the 1 and 6 people living with a neurological condition in England, and across the UK, and ensure they have access to the workforce and services they need to get the right treatment and care at the right time.”
We await opportunities to contribute further and look forward to the interim report on the strategy due to be published in the summer.