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Patients can boost NHS's value

30th April 2009

Management consultant Paul Corrigan argues that as DIY doctors, patients can boost the NHS's value.

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As the budget increases the NHS has enjoyed over the last few years come to a halt, a key to greater efficiency in the health service is to get patients with chronic illnesses to manage more of their own care.

But to achieve better efficiency and with only two years to for the NHS change, this is not the time for tinkering round the edges but for big solutions.

The NHS needs to improve its technical efficiency through tariff, choice and competition.

But to thrive, the NHS needs to go beyond efficiency to change the economics of the service.

It needs to change the way value is added to the health service. Instead of only putting patients in contact with medical staff and medical technologies it needs to make more use of patient self-management of conditions, particularly long-term conditions.

To achieve this, self management has to stop being a hobby for a few and must become the core activity for the treatment of all long-term conditions.

This is a radical change between the core interaction between most patients and medical staff and to achieve this, the drivers of change within the NHS must be aligned.

With the economic climate, this improvement will only happen if it is made clear at an economic level.

Patients, however, will recognise and enjoy what they are adding to the NHS and will feel in greater control.

For them, it will improve outcomes.

 

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