Health Minister Edwin Poots launched a key new policy framework for people with long term conditions at an event hosted by the Long Term Conditions Alliance Northern Ireland (LTCANI) on April 26.
Speaking at the launch at the MS Society Resource Centre in Belfast the Minister said: “The Policy Framework “Living with Long Term Conditions” will help drive the modernisation of services for adults living with long term conditions and their carers. It sets out clear principles and good practice for those who are planning and delivering those services.
“This Policy Framework has been designed to be relevant across a wide range of long term conditions and for all care settings.
It aims to help commissioners and providers in the statutory, independent, voluntary and community sectors plan and deliver more effective services to support people with long term conditions and their carers.”
The Minister spoke of the challenges presented as an increasing number of people in Northern Ireland live with one or more long term conditions and of the need to look to opportunities to develop high quality services through, for example, the new model of care proposed in the report of the recent review of Health and Social Care and the use of telemonitoring technology.
Welcoming the publication of the Policy Framework, Heather Monteverde, Chair of the LTCANI said: “We believe that when this framework is fully implemented it has real potential to improve the lives of thousands of people living with a long term condition in Northern Ireland by giving them the information and support they need to maximise their independence and quality of life and minimise the impact and progression of their conditions’.
At the event new research carried out by Arthritis Care in Northern Ireland on the impact of a self management education programme was presented, which identified that for every £1 invested in self management there was a £7.25 social return on investment over five years. The findings of this research highlighted how self management provides people with the right skills and knowledge to empower them to make small but important changes to their lifestyle, which can have a major impact on their quality of life.
The Minister paid tribute to all those involved in developing the Policy Framework and in particular the knowledge and expertise provided by the Long Term Conditions Alliance (NI) and the Patient and Client Council.
He added: “I am keen to build on the work that the voluntary and community sectors have in place, and to utilise the expertise both of people who live with long term conditions and the organisations which support them in order to develop better services for patient and clients.
“I believe this Policy Framework provides an important opportunity to work together across care sectors and organisational boundaries to improve services.”