Patients in control: why people with long term conditions must be empowered

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This report sets out the key drivers for giving patients greater control.  It describes why giving patients greater control helps to improve health outcomes and the quality of services people receive.  It summarises research with patients showing that people want more control and involvement in managning their health than they have currently. 

It sets out a series of recommendations for specific actions that will help people with long-term conditions have greater control over the services they receive and greater empowerment and expertise in their day-to-day self-management of their conditions.

The report makes the case that rising demand on the system from people with long-term conditions means that the system will need to change if it is to continue to provide high-quality services to everyone who needs them. It highlights that this challenge is made more acute by tight finances.

It asserts that it is right to support people to have greater empowerment, especially where the issues are complex, and sets out the case that greater autonomy can lead directly to better health, and can be linked to better experiences of healthcare. It argues that recognising that patients are experts in a range of areas that are relevant to their healthcare is a crucial factor in enabling empowerment. However, it notes that recognition alone is not sufficient and people also need support to enable them to exercise greater control.

It sets out the finding of recent research with 2,500 patients that found there was a strong demand for more of a say over the way their conditions are managed overall and on a day-to-day basis, but they often lacked the support they needed to do so.

The report identifies a number of key areas which support people to have greater control, specifically: a named contact, access to good-quality data and information (including easy access to their own medical records), support from others in similar situations (peer support), healthcare plans and personal budgets, and enabling technology.  It explores each of these areas in some detail and makes recommendations for how these can be effectively put into practice.

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