Person-centred care in primary care: the key to sustainable quality in the NHS?

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In this blog, GP Ollie Hart outlines how person-centred care is not a new concept, and its effectiveness is now well evidenced through through pilots such as the Year of Care. 

Despite this, it remains hard to implement as it requires a paradigm shift in the system and in health professionals in the way care is provided.  He advocates activities that enable patients to think and act for themselves and the use of behaviour change techniques that nurture people's own resourcefulness.

Ollie argues that increasing resources to meet the NHS' growing workload and financial pressures is neither sustainable nor desirable, as simply increasing services can have the detrimental effect of disempowering people from thinking and acting for themselves.  Instead, he sees person-centred care, with its emphasis on activities that work on supporting self management, shared decision making, and proactive patient-led care planning, as the potential solution.

He argues that after establishing that this is what patients want - and the the evidence that it is - we need to use behaviour techniques which recognise that people of different abilities require different educational approaches.

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