Long-term illness shock

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MORE than 30 per cent of the borough’s population are living with a long-term health condition according to health chiefs.

A report brought before the Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (WBCCG) revealed that a massive 96,000 people are now living with conditions that are not going to go away any time soon – if ever – according to national statistics.

And this number is only set to rise in coming years.

Health bosses believe that as people become healthier and live longer, long-term conditions will become more of a factor in the health profile of Wigan borough and are urging people to become more aware of the possible effects this could have on individuals and their families.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chairman of the WBCCG, said: “There are a growing number of people with what we call ‘long term conditions’. These include diabetes, chronic respiratory and heart conditions, stroke, dementia, epilepsy, arthritis and other conditions. People often ‘collect’ these conditions as they grow older and by age 65 many people have two long term conditions.

“Over the next few years, we estimate that there will be a 60 per cent increase in people across Wigan borough with more than one long term condition.

“In order to deal with the increasing numbers of patients with long-term conditions, WBCCG have engaged with the national Department of Health QIPP Long Term Conditions Commissioning Development Programme.

“This programme is a cross-organisational piece of work and involves the whole health and social care economy of Wigan that is anticipated to last for several years. Locally we are calling it Living Healthier Longer.

“Evidence suggests that the use of increased self-care and self-management by patients along with more shared decision making between patients and clinicians will be a solid foundation for the programme.

“Taking action now is vital for the sustainability of our NHS and care system across Wigan borough.”

A public event was held earlier this month at the DW Stadium to raise awareness of long-term conditions in the borough and it is hoped similar events will be held in the near future.

Health bosses say that the Living Healthier for Longer programme will mean that within the next four years a person in their mid seventies suffering from one or more long term conditions should expect:

To have a key worker; a link person who can help them in their care and in their communications with the team assigned to their care;

They should have a care plan which explains exactly how they can expect to be treated and by whom;

They will understand their own condition and how to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis;

They will have sufficient information for their needs to understand how their disease affects them and why they might feel the way they do;

They will have had conversations noting their opinions and wishes on how they would like their care to progress;

They will have key contact details of health care professionals who can help intermittently when their need becomes more then they can manage themselves.

For more information visit the WBCCG website at: http:/www.wiganboroughccg.nhs.uk/your-health/long-term-conditions/