Headlines: February 27th, 2006

More support is being given to health and social care schemes that help people with long term conditions to deal with their own health problems enabling them to stay out of hospital. The Department of Health has published a new guide that includes examples of innovative practice.The guide, “Supporting people with long term conditions to self-care” has been produced to help NHS and social care staff to promote self-care following the recent Health White Paper in which a key theme was helping people take control of their own health. The guidance highlights some of the ways that health and social services are supporting self care at a local level. They include monitoring devices, self care skills education and training, support networks and information services and are provided by a range of public, private and voluntary sector agencies.

The examples include Hillingdon where people with diabetes can get support through a Community Pharmacy Diabetes Service, a personalised programme of health monitoring, education and medicines management offered at ten community pharmacies. Results so far show improvements in patients’ health and that they have greater understanding of diabetes. In another example, the Northumbria Parkinson’s Disease Service is offering an eight-week education and support programme teaching people about their condition and symptoms.

Health Minister Lord Warner said recent consultation has shown that people wanted more services based around their needs. “Helping people to take control of their own health is a major part of NHS reform. Evidence suggests that when people have more personal involvement and control over their care, there are improved health outcomes,” he said.

The new guidance is available on-line at http://www.dh.gov.uk/longtermconditions