The Government has opened the call for evidence for the Major Conditions Strategy. The strategy will focus on how best to prevent, diagnose early, treat, and manage the six major groups of conditions. These conditions drive-ill health and contribute to the burden of disease in the population in England.
The six major health conditions are cancer, cardiovascular diseases including stroke and diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill-health and, musculoskeletal disorders.
Alongside opening the call for evidence, they have also published a summary of evidence for the recently abandoned Cross-government Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:
“The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes the consultation on a strategy for these six major conditions, including mental health and dementia. When you invest in mental health services you get tangible improvements for patients.
“A recent report by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities showed that physical health inequalities are greatest among those with concurrent mental illness, and across all conditions the focus needs to be on those with the greatest needs. For the strategy to make a difference it must finally address both the mental health treatment gap and the concurrent physical health needs of our patients. It must also fully address the multi-dimensional needs of those with dementia, particularly as the ageing population suggests we are likely to see a rise in the number of people with this condition.
“Improving mental health services are at the heart of improving health care, and it is disappointing that the Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan has been abandoned. Whilst it is good to see that the Government has published the summary of responses to the Plan, these responses must be meaningfully considered in the development of this new Strategy.
“As outlined in our submission, we must see real parity of esteem between mental and physical health services delivered by 2035. This would result in thousands more people being able to access high-quality treatment and support, throughout their lives, from preconception to old age, no matter what their mental health needs are.
“Additionally, much like other strategies and programmes of reform, the Major Conditions Strategy will require an adequate workforce in place to be implemented successfully. As such, it is vital that the Government urgently publishes the NHS Workforce Plan previously promised.
“There is still a huge treatment gap that needs to be closed and this will only be possible with targeted investment in workforce, research, infrastructure and facilities.”