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National Voices’ response to the announcement of a Major Conditions Strategy

Sarah Sweeney, Interim Chief Executive of National Voices, responds to the announcement of a Major Conditions Strategy.

  • Person-centred care
  • Health inequalities

We receive today’s news of the development and launch of a Major Conditions Strategy with mixed feelings.

At National Voices, we advocate for more inclusive and person-centred health and care, shaped by the people who use and need it the most. And so, we are really pleased to hear the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care set out a compelling case for health and care bodies to break out of silos and work in a more person-centred way, joining up care around the individual.

However, we also know that many health and care charities have been waiting in earnest for the launch of a Cancer Plan, a Mental Health Plan, a Dementia Plan and a Disparities Plan, which so many of our members have inputted into and saw as key opportunities to improve the care and outcomes for people they work with and support. There will be real concern about whether the new overarching strategy will grasp and respond in sufficient detail to the issues they have raised. Many of our members will also wonder whether the issues they champion will be covered or not.

Developing a Major Conditions Strategy is an ambitious task – the Government will need to match these ambitions with sufficient funding so that the people who deliver services on the ground have enough breathing space to develop new ways of working. This comes against a challenging backdrop, as the workforce struggles to meet existing demand and morale is at a low.

Crucially, developing a plan for major conditions that joins up care around the individual must take a radically different development approach than we often see. We urge the Secretary of State to ensure the development process puts the voices of people who need health and care services the most at the centre of the strategy development – understanding what matters to them and what would make the biggest difference in their lives.

We stand ready and willing to support

Sarah Sweeney, Interim Chief Executive, National Voices.