New campaign to emphasise value of relationships

Charity Relate has launched a campaign to place relationships at the heart of the NHS to improve health and wellbeing. The campaign is backed by recent research which has found that the link between relationships and health is too often ignored by health professionals.

The Best Medicine campaign is calling for couple, family and social relationships to be put at the heart of the NHS with the aim of improving health and wellbeing for the 15 million people in the UK living with long term physical or mental health conditions.  The research found that despite clear evidence that good quality relationships can prevent, delay or minimise the effects of health conditions, only half (51%) of those with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled and have received professional support said it has taken their relationships into account effectively.  A further 21% said they feel the support they received hasn't considered their relationships at all. The results also illustrated how the effects of living with health conditions are affecting the nation's relationships.  Around 1 in 4 people with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled said their condition has impacted negatively on relationships they have or have had with partners (24%), friends (25%), family (23%) or colleagues (33%). The campaign is calling for:

  • A Government inquiry into how the true value of relationships can be recognised in the NHS.
  • The Health Secretary to become the Health and Wellbeing Secretary, with relationships and quality of life for carers and people with health and care needs explicitly in his team's remit.  
  • Clinical commissioning groups and local authorities to undertake a 'family test' when considering new local policies.