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Patients with long-term conditions to have more say over treatment

19 January 2009

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New guidance to help NHS and local authority commissioners ensure that people with long-term conditions (LTCs) are more involved in decisions about their illness and treatment has been issued by the Department of Health (DH) today (19 January 2009).

The DH says the document, Supporting People With Long Term Conditions: Commissioning Personalised Care Planning, will help to achieve its goal that by 2010 every one of the 15 million people with an LTC will be offered a personalised care plan.

The guidance explains how NHS and social care services can provide personalised care and services for people with LTCs. This includes:

  • Promoting choice and control by putting the patient at the centre of the care-planning process.
  • Focusing on setting goals that people want to achieve, such as returning to work or living independently.
  • Sharing information with people so that they can be involved in decisions about their care.
  • Providing support for people to self-care/self-manage their conditions.
  • Integrating health and social care agencies for more joined-up working.

The guidance document advises that, following a care-planning discussion between NHS or social care staff and a patient with an LTC, a care plan is written to bring together all patient information.

The care plan would be accessible to both the patient and NHS or social care staff and would record that the discussion include any goal setting and shared decision-making.

Health Minister Ann Keen said: “As a former nurse, I know how much it means to patients to be involved in decisions about their illness and treatment.

“As Lord Darzi set out in the Next Stage Review, the government is committed to an NHS that gives patients greater involvement in planning their care.”

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Care planning is key to delivering the services and support needed by people LTCs, such as diabetes, to self-manage their condition in partnership with their care teams.

“Diabetes UK welcomes this guidance as a means of supporting commissioners to ensure that the individual priorities are identified, agreed and services are made available to meet these needs, thereby developing the personalised and integrated services required.”