The King's Fund welcomes Health Secretary John Reid's announcement to establish specialist teams to improve care for people suffering from chronic diseases

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The King's Fund today welcomed Health Secretary John Reid's announcement to establish specialist teams to improve care for people suffering from long-term chronic diseases.

The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'The success of the United States in cutting hospital admission rates for people with chronic diseases shows it is worthwhile crossing the Atlantic for useful health lessons as the government has done with today's announcement on case management.

'But the government must tread carefully when cherry picking ideas from the US. The evidence remains unclear about how to identify the patients who could benefit most from case management. We also need to be clear about what services should be offered in this country as part of case management and how we can build the close working relationships between family doctors and clinicians in the community and in hospitals that are essential for making them work. It will be important to evaluate the impact on patients, their carers and on the use of health services.'

The King's Fund senior fellow Rebecca Rosen said:

'If case management is to succeed it must be developed in collaboration between health, social care, housing and other services. People with chronic diseases are typically older and have a complex range of needs. It is essential for different care providers to work closely together. There is a lot we can learn from similar approaches that have existed in this country for many years for older people and those with mental health problems.'

Notes to editors

1. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; a specialist bookshop; and conference and meeting facilities.

2. The King's Fund published Managing Chronic Disease: What can we learn from the US experience? on Thursday, 22 January 2004. The report examined the success of some parts of the American health system in treating patients with chronic medical conditions and highlighted useful lessons for health care in England. An executive summary of the report can be downloaded for free from our online bookshop.

3. For further information or interviews, please contact Michael Moruzzi on 020 7307 2585 or Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927.