A major conditions strategy will prioritise bringing preventative care into the community, as well as diagnosing and treating conditions earlier, the Government has said.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published a strategic framework that sets out the Government’s approach to developing the strategy.
This will prioritise a shift towards personalised care delivered in the community to effectively manage multiple conditions.
Health secretary, Steve Barclay, first announced the development of the strategy earlier this year, listing six target conditions to focus on. These are: cancers; cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases; dementia; mental ill health, and musculoskeletal disorders.
According to the DHSC, a quarter of adults have at least two long term conditions, with these six conditions accounting for over 60% of all ill health and early death in England.
The strategic framework identifies a number of areas in which the DHSC believes ‘will have the greatest collective impact across all the conditions.’
The first area of focus is ‘rebalancing the health and care system’ towards a more personalised approach to prevention by managing risk factors.
‘Creating healthy lives is not just a matter for government’, the framework said, ‘it also means empowering and enabling people to manage their own health and engage in healthy behaviours across their lives.’
The Government has promised to tackle the wider determinants of health, including smoking and obesity as well as areas such as education and housing.
Additionally, the DHSC says that the major conditions strategy will aim to embed ‘early diagnosis and treatment in the community’.
‘We want to bring services into the community and make it easier for people to access diagnosis and treatment,’ the report said.
According to the DHSC, this process involves evaluating self-sample cervical screening tests for women who have not attended previous screening appointments, and increasing the number of people who self-monitor at home.
The DHSC will also consider who to embed early diagnosis and treatment delivery in the community, including by exploring the potential for new technology such as AI to develop new pathways of care.
The remaining areas of focus are: managing multiple conditions, seeking closer alignment between physical and mental health services, and giving people more choice and control over their care.
Responding to the framework’s release, the chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee Steve Brine said that the interim report was ‘a welcome step forward.’
Mr Brine added: ‘We look forward to scrutinising the final strategy when it’s published in full. Prevention is the new cure so while the strategy will be welcome, its fast implementation and political will across Government will be the test of whether it moves the dial.’