Millions of people in the United Kingdom are living with long-term conditions such as asthma or diabetes.
Most of these people are leading full and active lives with only occasional contact with health professionals, by altering drug doses and adapting their lifestyles in response to subtle changes in symptoms.
This paper reviews patients' perceptions about managing their own conditions, and identifies how primary care trusts and other health and social care providers can support them, in line with their individual needs.
Three key areas for service development are:
- improving health professionals' skills to help patients manage their own conditions
- improving the provision of information about long-term conditions and the local services available
- increasing the flexibility of services to fit in with patients' other commitments.