Meeting the needs of people with multiple conditions at the same time as the NHS is treating more patients than ever is a complex challenge. Preventing people from developing conditions or delaying the onset of conditions will have the greatest benefits for individuals, their families, the economy and the NHS.

People living in more-deprived areas are at greater risk of developing multiple conditions earlier in life. To ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy life, urgent cross-government action is needed to tackle the underlying causes of multiple conditions, as is investment in the public services that affect people’s health.

At the same time, the high, rising number of people with multiple conditions and the level of NHS resources needed to provide treatment for them cannot be ignored. Long-term planning for the NHS needs to include a focus on those with multiple conditions, and find ways to galvanise and accelerate efforts to improve their care.

There are six key steps an NHS programme of work should include to improve care for patients:

  • supporting those with multiple conditions to live well, for example by investing in self-management support for people with multiple conditions
  • developing new models of NHS care for those with multiple conditions
  • resourcing the vital role of primary care, particularly in deprived areas
  • designing secondary care around those with multiple conditions
  • using data and sharing information to improve care for those with multiple conditions, including greater data linkage
  • robustly evaluating what works.
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