Supporting people with chronic conditions


The Health and Social Care Committee is holding an inquiry into supporting people with chronic conditions.


What are chronic conditions?


The term ‘chronic conditions’ (also known as ‘long term conditions’ or ‘longstanding illnesses’) includes a broad range of health conditions which often cannot be cured but can be managed with the right support and treatment. Many people also live with multimorbidity (two or more chronic conditions). Different groups of people and people from different backgrounds may also experience inequalities in relation to their conditions or their access to services or support.


What is happening at the moment?


Because of the complexity of these issues and the wide range of chronic conditions people may experience, we are approaching our work in two stages.


During stage 1 of our work we asked you to help us by identifying the key themes and issues we should focus on within the following broad areas:


NHS and social care services


>>>The readiness of local NHS and social care services to treat people with chronic conditions within the community.

>>>Access to essential services and ongoing treatment, and any barriers faced by certain groups, including women, people from ethnic minority backgrounds and disabled people.

>>>Support available to enable effective self-management where appropriate, including mental health support.



Multiple conditions


>>>The ability of NHS and social care providers to respond to individuals with multimorbidity rather than focusing on single conditions in isolation.

>>>The interaction between mental health conditions and long-term physical health conditions.



Impact of additional factors


>>>The impact of the pandemic on quality of care across chronic conditions.

>>>The impact of the rising cost of living on people with chronic conditions in terms of their health and wellbeing.

>>>The extent to which services will have the capacity to meet future demand with an ageing population.



Prevention and lifestyle


>>>Action to improve prevention and early intervention (to stop people’s health and wellbeing deteriorating).

>>>Effectiveness of current measures to tackle lifestyle/behavioural factors (obesity, smoking etc); and to address inequalities and barriers faced by certain groups.



Phase 2: Supporting people with chronic conditions


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the phase 1 consultation. Your responses have provided the Committee with valuable evidence to inform this inquiry as well as future work.


A clear overarching message from the consultation was the need to improve person-centred, holistic care, and to stop focusing on individual conditions in isolation.


Moving from vision to implementation – how to deliver person-centred care for chronic conditions.


The vision of person-centred care is widely shared, but how do we progress its implementation into practice to better support people with chronic conditions?


And is the Welsh Government and NHS Wales doing enough to address the challenges of the growing number of people living with multiple conditions and how to treat them holistically?


This inquiry aims to identify practical actions that can deliver improvements to enable services to focus on the person as a whole, not their individual conditions.

The inquiry will also investigate whether lessons can be learnt from the approach taken to certain conditions or groups of people, for example diabetes, and the care of children with complex needs and older people have been highlighted positively.


Terms of Reference


How to deliver the vision of holistic, person-centred care for people with chronic conditions. What needs to change to improve people’s experiences and outcomes. Including:


>>>What is required to enable services to better meet the needs of people with multiple conditions (often referred to as “multimorbidity”).

>>>Tackling inequalities and the barriers faced by certain groups, including people living in poverty and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

>>>Good practice examples of person-centred care for people with multiple conditions which could be mainstreamed into policy and delivery.

>>>Support required to enable effective self-management of chronic conditions where appropriate, including mental health support.

>>>Priority actions required to improve prevention and early intervention.



This approach allows the Committee to explore the common themes and recommendations for improvement, which if implemented could help people with a range of different chronic conditions, as well as the rising number of people living with multiple conditions.


In the new year we will be taking further evidence including engaging with people with chronic conditions directly, stakeholder focus groups with organisations representing a range of chronic conditions and some formal oral evidence sessions.




>>>Supporting people with chronic conditions (completed)


Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

First published: 29/03/2023