How we provide health and social care services is facing a critical moment.
It is well documented that the health and social care system is facing unpredicted demands due to demographic and financial pressures; technological advances and changing attitudes towards people wanting to be more in control of their health and wellbeing.
There is growing evidence that by involving people in decisions about their health and care we will improve their health and wellbeing; improve their quality of care; and ensure they make more informed use of healthcare resources. This in turn creates value for the taxpayer.
People with Long Term Conditions (LTC) and Complex Needs make up about 30% of the population and are not especially well serviced by our current system, which is generally fragmented and paternalistic, and often results in over-diagnosis, over-prescribing and over-treatment.
- 70% of each health pound is spent on supporting people with LTC, who also account for 50% of all GP appointments and 70% of hospital beds.
- National surveys tell us that over 40% of people want to be more involved in decisions about their care, and similarly 40% of people living with LTC want more support to manage their health and wellbeing on a day to day basis.
The Next Steps Five Year Forward View states that more could be done to involve people in their own health and care, to involve communities and the voluntary sector in improving health and wellbeing and to coordinate and personalise care and support including through personal health budgets.
- Increasing evidence is also demonstrating that a more personalised approach results in better health and well-being outcomes for people, which means that they are less likely to have a medical emergency requiring an unplanned visit to A&E or their GP.
Key to making this happen is recognising that people can be the best integrators of health and care services, as well as better joint working at the health and social care interface is vital to improving outcomes for people.
Personalised care is where people have more choice and control over how their health and care needs are met. It recognises that people themselves can sometimes be the best integrators of health and care, and supports them to live as independently as they wish.
With personalised care, people are more involved in the decision making process and should be supported to talk about the outcomes that matter most to them and what is the best course of action to achieve these outcomes.
The result is better health and well-being outcomes for them, plus more effective and joined-up services. The NHS will, however, always be there to support people as it always has done.