Long term conditions are diseases or conditions for which there are currently no cure, but can be managed with drugs or other treatments. Over 15 million people (around a quarter of the population) now have at least one long term condition, such as diabetes, dementia, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), addictions, raised blood pressure (hypertension), stroke or heart disease, depression, chronic kidney disease, cancer or a neurological condition such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease.
Use of healthcare services is heavy in this group: approximately 50% of all GP appointments, 64% of all out-patient appointments and 70% of inpatient bed days; costing 70% of hospital and primary care budgets.
To make best use of healthcare resources and to improve the quality of life for patients with long term conditions (& their carers), Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and GP practices are keenly focussed at present on trying to avoid/reduce unnecessary, emergency admissions to hospital. To clarify, should a patient need to be admitted for specialist hospital care, then this will be arranged promptly. Sometimes however, just a little extra input is needed by a team of community matrons or specialist services, to keep the patient safe and comfortable at home; where this can be put in place rapidly to avoid an admission, this is better for the patient and their family.
The number of people with 3 or more long term conditions – rendering their medical needs much more complex, is rapidly rising towards 3 million. We therefore need to ensure that these patients are in the best position to manage their own conditions – knowing how and when appropriate, with the aim of preventing complications and the need to go into hospital. Evidence shows that those who are proactive and involved in managing their own care have better health outcomes than those who are less interested.
To help and support you (or someone you are caring for) in managing the emotional, psychological and physical aspects of your chronic condition, we’ve linked to a number of sites where you can find out more about how to help yourself. Choose a video to watch, search your local library to find out more or just engage in local activities to boost your spirits. You can always ask further questions about managing your condition when you attend your next specialist out-patient appointment or your annual review appointment here at the surgery [see below].
Finally, to ensure you’re getting the best result from the treatments we prescribe, we will remind you when your annual review tests and/or checks are needed at the surgery: please respond when prompted, as not doing so may slightly delay our processing of your future repeat prescription requests.
1 in 10 people within Trafford take on the role of being a carer for a loved one; on average 1 child in every classroom is a carer too. All of you could benefit from advice and support from Trafford Carers’ Centre, with whom we work closely. Patients can contact the service directly on 0161 848 2400 or via their website. There’s a range of free, online learning courses offered by Trafford Carers Centre too. If you think you’d benefit from carer resilience, safe handling of medicines or safeguarding adults training, pop into surgery reception so we can give you a voucher to access these.