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MusculoskeletalMay 19, 2023

Have your say on future strategies for tackling MSK disorders and other major conditions in England

Health ministers in England are inviting physiotherapists and other interested parties to submit evidence on how six key health conditions – musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases including stroke and diabetes, dementia and mental ill health – should be tackled in the future.

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.’

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The call for evidence is open for six weeks and is scheduled to close on 27 June

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Six-week deadline to respond

The call for evidence, which was launched on 17 May, will inform strategy on how best to prevent, diagnose and manage conditions that are said to ‘put the most strain on the NHS’. One person in four is affected by at least two of the major long-term conditions, and a new strategy will focus on both treatment and prevention.

As well as encouraging individuals with one or more of the conditions outlined to respond, the call for evidence is extended to carers, and those working in NHS bodies, local government, the voluntary and community sector, and wider industry. They are particularly keen to receive views how the government and the NHS can improve working relationships with other organisations and sectors.

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 [Sarah Woolnough, Asthma + Lung UK]

The government’s aim is to improve care and outcomes for those living with multiple conditions and an increasing complexity of need. 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.

Examples of the issues include

  • half of people with a heart or lung condition have an MSK disorder, such as back pain
  • people with diabetes are twice as likely to have depression
  • nine patients in 10 with dementia have another long-term condition

Charities welcome call for evidence

Sarah Woolnough, Asthma + Lung UK’s chief executive, said: ‘It’s encouraging to see the government taking action on respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 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.'

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

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 two new treatments for early Alzheimer’s disease showing promise in the last six months, and revolutionary new ways to diagnose it on the horizon.’

The call for evidence is open for six weeks and will close on 27 June.

Background

Earlier calls for evidence on cancer, and mental health and wellbeing both attracted more than 5,000 responses from individuals and organisations.

Author: Ian A McMillan
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