Empowering patients, service users and communities

To empower the knowledge, skills and experience of people in their communities, working in co-production to improve access and outcomes.

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Empowerment should occur at all levels of the system:

  • individual - involved in decisions about your own care, such as through person-centred or personalised care
  • services - involved in choices about how and where services are delivered, including their review or implementation
  • system - involved in strategic decision-making, such as through board membership.

In the NHS, the Five Year Forward View identifies the ‘need to engage with communities and citizens in new ways, involving them directly in decisions about the future of health and care services'.

NHS England has made a commitment to become much better at involving patients and their carers by:

  • giving people the power to manage their own health and make informed decisions about their care and treatment
  • supporting people to improve their health, giving the best opportunity to lead the life that they want.

Frequently asked questions

The six principles

There are six principles, developed by National Voices and the NHS Empowering Patients and Communities Board, for delivering a new relationship with people and communities, as set out in the Five Year Forward View.

  • care and support is person-centred: personalised, coordinated, and empowering
  • services are created in partnership with citizens and communities
  • focus is on equality and narrowing inequalities
  • carers are identified, supported and involved
  • voluntary, community and social enterprise and housing sectors are involved as key partners and enablers.
  • volunteering and social action are recognised as key enablers.

How are patients and citizens being empowered to improve and maintain their health?

Here are two examples:

  • patient activation is a way of conceptualising and measuring engagement in improving your own health; to gauge patient activation a robust patient-reported measure is used, the ‘PAM'
  • social prescribing, sometimes called 'community referral', is a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of non-clinical services.

Case studies and examples

LGA support and resources

Selected tools and resources from our partners