Long-term conditions

Long-term conditions (LTCs) can be defined as any ongoing, long term or recurring conditions that can have a significant impact on people’s lives.

Many people suffer from several LTCs. Related terms for LTCs are ‘non-communicable diseases’1 and ‘chronic conditions’. LTCs include conditions such as diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, mental illness, chronic pain, chronic kidney disease and dementia.

As the population ages and lifestyles change, the health system needs to respond to increasing numbers of people with LTC. This will require changes in healthcare provision. Primary care and community health have key roles in the prevention, detection and management of LTC.

New Zealanders living with LTC can expect:

  • high quality, patient focussed care (value and high performance)
  • care that is integrated across the health system (one team)
  • to be regarded as leading partners in their care (people powered).

A systematic approach to LTC management includes:

  • patient centred, proactive coordinated care for individuals with LTC health needs
  • systems capable of managing the growing health needs of the population and supporting wellbeing
  • equity of outcome for all populations.

Learn more about the Ministry's work programmes and the resource material whch have been developed to support the Health Sector and NGOs in the following sections.

1 A related term is non-communicable disease (NCD), or conditions that are not acquired by transmission between people. There is significant overlap between the two, for example, many NCDs are long term in nature, and LTCs and NCDs share many common lifestyle-related risk factors. There is not complete overlap however, for example some LTCs are communicable such as Hepatitis. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. NCDs is more commonly used in international contexts such as by the World Health Organisation.

In this section

  •  Information about what the long-term conditions (LTC) programme aims to achieve. Read more
  • Self-management support (SMS) for PHOs and primary care teams who are supporting people with long-term health conditions. Read more
  • Information for health professionals providing support and advice to New Zealand adults on healthy lifestyles. Read more
  • As our population ages and more of us are living longer with long term conditions, it is timely to focus on caring for people with multimorbidity Read more
  • The Ministry has committed to a five-year Te Ranga Ora learning partnership with Counties Manukau Health to understand the impact of new models of care for long-term conditions (like diabetes), and how commissioning can be used as a tool for health equity. Read more
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