Innovative care for people with serious long-term health conditions in Kent and Medway is attracting national attention and praise.

Sir John Oldham, the national NHS Lead for Long-Term Conditions, visited Kent to learn more about the proactive approach locally to improving people’s health.

He said: “It is fantastic to see and hear about the work going on here – your local citizens should be proud. I will be taking this back and seeing how we can spread knowledge of the sorts of things you are doing across the country.

“What you are doing is ensuring that the future generation will get the services they need as much as the current generation. Long-term conditions are going to be the care issue of the next decade, if not beyond. Working collaboratively and together is the only way we will be able to manage the need.”

Sir John was commenting on work in Kent and Medway to
• identify people’s risk of future illness and complications
• offer people completely integrated care, by the NHS and social care working together
• empower people to manage their own health and wellbeing
These are the priorities of the national long-term conditions programme led by Sir John and underpin work for people with long-term conditions in Kent and Medway, including the innovative telehealth and telecare programmes.

Dr Robert Stewart, Medical Director of NHS Kent and Medway, said: “Many people are living with long-term health conditions for years – even decades – which can take a tremendous toll on them and on those closest to them.

“Yet, with proper support, people can learn to manage conditions such as COPD, diabetes, heart problems and dementia, to maximise their health and wellbeing and minimise the impact on their lives.

“Through their collaborative approach, the clinical commissioning groups and local authorities in this area are setting work in motion which will make a genuine difference to people’s lives.”

Graham Gibbens, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “We are delighted that full recognition has been given to the management of long term conditions.

“We want to make it possible for people to stay independent and remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This means health and social care teams need to work very closely together.

“We are pleased about the initiatives so far and the discussions at the Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board will strongly contribute towards this.”
Marion Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of Kent Community Health NHS Trust, said: “Patients coping with long-term conditions will see more health and social care professionals than most people and it makes perfect sense that they expect us to talk to each other and work together.

“We are doing just that – putting patients in control of their care, using the latest technologies like telehealth to support them and building a team around them.
“We are delighted this more holistic method of care is not only being recognised nationally but most importantly is helping to keep people in better health for longer and delivering their care exactly where they want it – as close to home as possible.”