Long term conditions impacting quality of life

20 March 2015        

Doctor showing a patient a heart model

Leading charities have united to call on the NHS to improve care for people with long term conditions. 

According to a new report by The Richmond Group, a coalition of 10 leading health and social care charities including the BHF, too many people are not receiving the care they need. 
The report, Vital Signs: Taking the temperature of health and social care for services for people living with long term conditions, sets out how 15 million people  in England (1 in 4) live with at least one long term condition (LTC) today. It argues that the state of care is inconsistent and that not enough people are getting the care and support they need to live well.

Improving care

Around 60 per cent of people with LTC say their condition limits their daily life. LTCs currently account for 70 per cent of hospital bed days and half of all GP appointments. The charities argue that providing good care should be an urgent priority for the NHS as it would not only improve and save lives but also save money. 

While the report acknowledges areas of excellent care, this is overshadowed by dangerous gaps in diagnosis, treatment, support and coordination of care for patients. For example, only 45% of patients that have a heart attack, angioplasty or bypass surgery receive cardiac rehabilitation to help them manage their condition and reduce the risk of another cardiac event. And just 20% of those that receive cardiac rehabilitation access support to help them deal with psychological impact of their condition. 

Raw deal

People with cardiovascular disease are also getting a raw deal at the end of life, with only four in ten relatives saying their loved one was given enough choice about where they could die. 

Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, said: “We know that much excellent care is provided by many committed members of staff in the NHS. But we cannot ignore that this happens in isolated pockets and that services are not joined up. 

“Too many do not receive the integrated care and support they need. This is costly for their health and for the NHS budget. 

“If the NHS is to meet the challenge it currently faces, it must transform itself and reimagine how it delivers the care people so desperately need. 

“We now need the Government and NHS leaders at all levels to work together with alongside Richmond Group members to ensure that the gaps highlighted in the report become a thing of the past”