James Hammond

James Hammond

Published on: 20,May 2024

By James Hammond, Policy and Partnerships Officer, The Richmond Group


With the government set to publish its major conditions strategy this summer and the general election in touching distance, the next 12 months could shape the future of our health and care system. Although the outcomes of these two ‘events’ are yet to be seen, the picture of where we are right now remains crystal clear. To put it politely, it’s not looking good.


Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care is at its lowest since records began. Eye watering waiting list numbers, a chronic staff shortage in social care, and a system built from siloes that inhibit joining up care have left pretty much everyone in agreement. Change, in some shape or form, is now beyond necessary.


We are ready to play our part in defining what this change will look like, and have a busy year planned. Last November, we published our manifesto for multiple conditions and have been encouraged by its reception from senior health leaders, including Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, who kindly spoke at our launch. Following the manifesto’s publication, we’ve continued to develop our thinking around a quality improvement approach to multiple conditions care. We are pleased to see NHS England introduce two new senior clinical roles: a National Clinical Lead and a National Speciality Adviser for Multiple Long Term Conditions (MLTCs). We will keep banging the drum for national decision makers to set the tone for change.


This change itself will mostly take place at a local level, and we’ll be working closely with organisations like NHS Confederation to provide integrated care systems with some of the tools and knowhow they will need to redesign MLTC care.


The election is fast approaching and we’re aiming to shape the policy debate about the future of the health and care systems. We welcome Labour’s commitment to bringing care closer to home, as well as their acknowledgement of the growing number of people living with multiple conditions. The high-level commitments in the Health Mission have some promise, and will require policy thinking to flesh out into implementable actions.


Across the aisle, we were glad to hear Victoria Atkins, tell the Health and Social Care Committee that one in four people in England live with two or more health conditions, in reference to the direction of travel set out in the upcoming major conditions strategy. We are hopeful that the major conditions strategy will signal an important shift in the policy narrative towards addressing the challenge of multimorbidity.


It’s also going to be an eventful year for our physical activity programme. In 2022, we became a Sport England system partner with the aim of influencing and supporting the health and sport sectors to remove the barriers people with long-term health conditions face in being active.


We have supported physical activity colleagues in our own organisations, mapped the challenges the health workforce face, and built solid relationships in government departments (DCMS and DHSC) and NHS England. In the next 12 months, we want to ensure that the government is taking action to ensure that physical activity has a central role in the prevention, treatment, and management of health conditions.


We will soon be publishing a policy report setting out the actions we want the government and system leaders in the health, sport and leisure sectors to take to promote physical activity. This publication will draw on insights produced from Big Talk, a consultation carried out for We Are Undefeatable, our public-facing campaign (in partnership with Sport England, Mind, MS Society, and Parkinson’s UK) that supports and inspires people living with long-term conditions to be active. A report summarising the findings from the public consultation is already available on We Are Undefeatable’s website.


If you would like to hear more about our coalition’s work or have an idea for collaboration you would like to explore, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch!

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Health and Care Health Systems Multiple Long-Term Conditions Physical Activity