NHS Long Term Plan

Published: 9 Jan 2019

On 7th January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan was released, which sets out objectives and strategies for the NHS in England over the next decade.

Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), welcomed the pledges, but raised concerns about existing challenges: “NRAS welcomes pledges in the NHS Long Term Plan particularly in regards to mental health, a new person-centred model of care, and the NHS workforce, and we sincerely hope that the pledges become reality."

“In NRAS’s report ‘Emotional Health and Well-being Matters’, we called for the Government to ensure that therapy for conditions such as depression and anxiety, which are common multi-morbidities amongst people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), are readily available. The NHS Long Term Plan indicated that this will be the case within the next 5 years. It is also pleasing that there is a pledge to roll out clinical networks to improve the quality of care for children with long-term conditions, which we hope will have a wide compass and include diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)."

“However, concerns remain about the lack of focus on musculoskeletal diseases generally given the huge number of people affected, on the importance of self-management for people with long-term conditions such as inflammatory arthritis which are managed by specialist rather than primary care, and on the need for a joined-up approach for encouraging work as a health outcome. There is also a lack of clarity in how patients, communities and the voluntary sector will be meaningfully involved in the changes. NRAS will continue to campaign for change to improve the lives of people living with RA and JIA.”

The NHS Long Term Plan, including a summary of the plan and other audio-visual resources, can be found here.