FAQs for Patient Activation licences

About Patient Activation in NHS England’s Self-care programme

How is Patient Activation being used to promote supported self-management?

Supported self-management is part of the NHS Long-Term Plan commitment to make personalised care business as usual. Universal Personalised Care sets out how a comprehensive model of personalised care will be put into practice. Supported self-management is one of six key components of the model.

Patient activation is a measure of people’s knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own health and is an important principle of supported self-management. Health and care systems that know the activation level of their population can begin to tailor their services in order to support people on a ‘journey of activation’, thus helping them lead better lives at a lower cost to the system.

In 2016, NHS England agreed a licence to use the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) tool with up to 1.8 million people through local health programmes. Learning from the PAM learning set sites has been gathered together to support organisations who have taken up the PAM licences in 2016-17. A web-based platform, the PAM Knowledge, Skills and Confidence network has been set up for sites to share learning with each other, join in discussions and have access to training materials and other useful resources.

How many PAM licences are needed to assess the activation of the same person over several years?

One licence per person is needed. It can be used any number of times with the same person up to the end of the licence agreement. For licences already secured from NHS England, these are valid up to March 2021.

Are there other derivatives of the PAM available for people with different needs?

Yes, PAM tools available to use as part of the NHS England licence agreement include the Parent/Carer PAM and validated language translations of PAM derivatives (as required). Use of the PAM tool with a patient and their carer(s)/parents only counts as one licence.

Is there any learning available about clinician support for patient activation?

In 2014, NHS England surveyed over 1750 clinicians, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, to explore their attitudes and beliefs, their self-reported behaviours and practices to support people in taking a more active role in managing their health and care. This used a modified version of a tool called Clinician Support for Patient Activation (CSPAM). The findings from the survey are available on our website and it also provides an insight into clinicians’ perceived barriers and their support needs.

The CSPAM tool is available from Insignia Health if you wish to use it as a reflective tool with your clinicians.

Are there any cohorts for whom PAM is not suitable to use?

Our experience from the Learning Set indicates that PAM may not be suitable for people with conditions such as severe learning disability, severe mental health problems or severe dementia.

The reading age for PAM is 11-12 years. For people with a lower reading age, the Carer and Parent version of PAM is available to use.

Do we need to complete an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) for using the PAM?

Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) are no longer a statutory requirement in England. However, they continue to be used by public sector organisations as a way of demonstrating compliance with public service equality duty.

It is the decision and individual responsibility of each organisation using the PAM to undertake an EIA in line with their local patient activation plans and broader context of how they will use PAM, which will be unique for each locality.

How can we apply for licences from NHS England?

We are always looking for new sites and health programmes interested in using the PAM tool. Please contact us with your interest and ideas for using the PAM at: england.patientactivation@nhs.net.

Alternatively, you may want to connect with colleagues in your region who have been allocated PAM licences. It may be these sites can grant you a portion of their licenses. To discover if there is currently a PAM site in your area please email the Patient Activation team.