Challenge of multimorbidity faced at national conference

Multimorbidity is a 'complex phenomenon' representing one of the key challenges facing healthcare systems globally, according to Professor Kamlesh Khunti (pictured) from the Leicester Diabetes Centre who recently spoke at the National NIHR CLAHRC Multimorbidity Research Day on January 18 in Leicester.

It is estimated that in the UK, 65 per cent of people aged 65 or older are living with two or more chronic conditions, with the prevalence of multimorbidity having increased from 31.7 per cent in 2002/03 to 43.1 per cent in 2012/13.

The event hosted by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands provided an opportunity for researchers, clinicians and other colleagues from the 13 CLAHRCs to discuss current research being conducted and future challenges and opportunities in the field of multimorbidity research.

There were 61 study summaries highlighted and showcased at the conference attended by 60 delegates.

Professor Khunti, who is the Director of NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands and a Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at our University, said: “As researchers, we are aware that multimorbidity is a complex phenomenon requiring multi-faceted strategies and interventions to improve outcomes. This event showcased the multimorbidity work across all CLAHRCs.

“Patients with multimorbidity have complex healthcare needs and multimorbidity is a key challenge facing healthcare systems globally. In addition, there is lack of evidence-based recommendations or people with multimorbidity. This programme of work shows there is huge activity in applied health research on multimorbidity with 61 abstracts being included in this summary report. I hope some of these studies will help generate the evidence needed to manage people with multimorbidity in the future.”

The projects were selected for excellence and potential for future implementation studies. The selection included examples of CLAHRCs working individually with local partners, people with multimorbidity, as well as examples of cross-CLAHRC collaboration. They highlighted the innovative work that is already taking place and stimulated further discussion.

The event took place at our University's Stamford Court building. In the morning there were two sessions, firstly looking at prevention and then at the management of multimorbidity.

Following the morning sessions, delegates viewed the poster exhibition and then looked at ways CLAHRCs could further work together and had an open discussion about a strategy for future working.

The recent RAND Corporation report ‘Future of Health: Findings from a survey of stakeholders on the future of health and healthcare in England’, commissioned by the NIHR, identified multimorbidity as a key priority for research.

  • Based at Leicester General Hospital, the Leicester Diabetes Centre is a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester and is now ranked as Europe’s largest diabetes research facility