Headlines: October 20th, 2006



Patients, on average, remember about ten percent of what was said during a consultation with their GP and in most cases they follow the care path suggested to them. Because information is the key to helping people make choices about their health care, the Department for Health wants patient to be better informed. The 2006 White Paper ‘Our Health Our Care Our Say’ committed the government to introducing’ Information Prescriptions’ which will give specific information about resources relevant to individual circumstances.

A series of pilots have been launched to trial this new idea. They are being run in partnership with voluntary organisations like Cancerbackup and Macmillan Cancer Support. The initiative will initially focus on cancer and mental health and later on vulnerable older people, and will run until the end of 2007.

These individual prescriptions will draw on local as well as national knowledge and information, and will point people to the relevant websites, telephone numbers and support groups for their condition. Information will not be constrained by organizational boundaries.

The prescriptions will help people with long-term conditions such as cancer, or mental health problems, to stay independent and take control of their illness. Information will be given about conditions and treatments available from a range of providers including voluntary organizations. There will also be contact details for local and national support groups as well as local places to exercise Internet discussion groups on their condition. Contact details will be provided for home care services. There will also be details about where to get benefits advice.