BGS responds to Major Conditions Strategy strategic framework

22 August 2023

The BGS has responded to the Government's update on progress towards its Major Conditions Strategy, published on 15 August. The full Major Conditions Strategy will be published in 2024 after further consultation and evidence-gathering.

The BGS responded to the original announcement of a Major Conditions Strategy in May 2023 with an open letter, co-signed by the National Care Forum, Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Physicians London, Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow. It noted the absence of frailty and multimorbidity and the risk of a siloed approach to care as a result of the focus on six major conditions.

The latest ‘Major conditions strategy: case for change and our strategic framework’ policy paper goes further than the earlier document in acknowledging multimorbidity and the need for personalised care, although it falls short of identifying the enormous impact of frailty on a large proportion of the older population.

Prof Adam Gordon, President of the BGS, said:

We are pleased to see a more nuanced approach to multimorbidity and personalised care in the Government’s latest update of progress towards its Major Conditions Strategy. However frailty is still conspicuously missing from the discussion, despite it affecting half of all patients in hospitals and care homes.

We are glad to see more focus on prevention and the benefits of early intervention. The value of rehabilitation in aiding recovery and the importance of addressing mental health alongside physical health are highlighted. All of these are important for the care of older people, who are the population group who use health and care services the most. While inequalities between different parts of the country are acknowledged, it will be essential for the new Strategy to consider the wider determinants of health, which have such an effect over the life course on health outcomes.

There is doubt as to whether the workforce and funding to deliver strategic change at the scale required will be available, with limited time remaining in this parliament. Nevertheless, we await with interest the next iteration of the Major Conditions Strategy and will continue to advocate for the needs of older people and their right to high-quality, joined-up care.”