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Minister announces aims for long term medical conditions in England

16 March, 2004

English
Health Secretary John Reid has announced new plans to ensure that people
with long term medical conditions and diseases receive
"the
support they need".

Under the new plans,
specialist teams across the country will provide advice, care and treatment
for chronic conditions - often cutting out
the need for visits to family doctors and hospitals.

Mr Reid announced
the launch of a programme for 2004/05 to establish case-management
demonstration sites within each of the 28 Strategic Health
Authorities. In the UK, there are some 17½ million people living with
chronic conditions and the World Health Organisation
estimates that by 2030 the incidence of chronic disease in the over 65s
will have doubled.

The sites, which
are now being selected, will:

  • maintain health
    and promote well-being;
  • detect early
    changes in condition and prevent unnecessary admissions;
  • when admissions
    do occur, facilitate safe, early discharge;
  • have access to
    advice and support on applying and developing tools and techniques
    to extract and analyse data that will enable them to identify their
    target populations.

Speaking at a conference in Birmingham, Mr Reid said:

"Chronic disease
has a huge impact on people's quality of life and on their families,
and
it consumes a large proportion of health and
social care resources. There is a lot happening already, both nationally
and locally to introduce better chronic disease management. But this
needs to spread. That is why we are launching a programme to establish
case management demonstrator sites within each Strategic Health Authority,
building on PCTs' [Primary Care Trusts] existing experience of developing
and implementing these approaches.

"The demonstrator
sites will introduce active management of high risk patients. They
will provide
coordinated patient centred care within
a whole systems approach to keep patients with the greatest burden of
illness healthy for longer."