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Will we rise to the challenge of an ageing society?

User AvatarPosted by at 26/04/2013 09:24:15

Speech given by Jeremy Hunt at Age UK Conference published on Gov.uk website 25/04/13

The rise of long-term conditions

Let’s look at the biggest operational challenge facing the NHS right now – the pressure on A & E departments.

When I have been visiting A & Es in the last few weeks, hard-working staff talk about the same issues: lack of beds to admit people, poor out of hours GP services, inaccessible primary care and a lack of coordination across the health and social care system.

The decline in the quality of out of hours care follows the last government’s disastrous changes to the GP contract, since when we now have 4 million more people using A & E a year compared to 2004.

We must address these system failures – and look at the causes rather than just the symptoms as has happened too often in the past.

But those same A & E staff also talk about a societal change that is behind much of this pressure - the dramatic rise in the number of people with complex long term conditions.

Because of the ageing population, fully one quarter of the population - that’s 15 million people - have a long term condition like diabetes, dementia or asthma. Although these conditions can’t be cured, they can be alleviated, treated and sometimes kept at bay.

This is a huge challenge for an NHS set up primarily to deal with one-off episodes and curable illnesses - whether cancer, a new knee or a broken leg. Because unlike when the NHS was founded 65 years ago, now half of GP appointments and two thirds of outpatient/A & E visits are for people with long term conditions.

Indeed this group, many of whom are older people, are now responsible for 70% of the total health and care budget, over £70 billion every year. And that number is growing - which is why a recent review by Professor Carol Jagger said, the way we care for people with long-term conditions is unaffordable and unsustainable.

Nor, I would say, is it acceptable for those of us determined to ensure the NHS offers the best care in the world.

There are simply too many cases where people with long term conditions don’t get the medicines, the checks or they support they need. They or their relatives end up having to put their energy into fighting the system instead of fighting their illness.

Indeed the system itself has a long term condition – an outdated way of doing things that puts up silos, creates bunkers and too often gives people the minimum rather than the total support they need. This is what dedicated NHS staff across the system are demanding needs to change. So today I want to set out four areas that need to be addressed if we are to do this.

The full text can be found at:



Disclosure and Barring Service - filtering of old and minor convictions and cautions

Posted by Chris A Brown at 04/04/2013 14:12:11

The Home Office has started the legislative process (subject to agreement by Parliament) so that certain old and minor cautions and convictions will no longer be disclosed on a DBS...

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