To empower the knowledge, skills and experience of people in their communities, working in co-production to improve access and outcomes.
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
- Gloucestershire CCG: social prescribing making an impact: pilot schemes supporting people who go to their GP surgery, but who do not necessarily require medical care
- Healthwatch: making your voice count: 28 stories from the 2016 Healthwatch Network Awards, showing how public views are helping to improve NHS and social care services across England.
LGA support and resources
- Helping people look after themselves: a guide on self-care shows a range of innovative work councils are involved in to further embed the self-care agenda.
Selected tools and resources from our partners
- National voices: Six principles for engaging people and communities gives practical support to services as they deliver a new relationship with people and communities
- NHS England: New Care Models: empowering patients and communities outlines the support available from arm's length bodies and strategic partners in the voluntary sector
- King's Fund: Supporting people to manage their health: an introduction to patient activation and how it is being achieved in practice, offers recommendations for extending early use of the ‘PAM'
- PHE: A guide to community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing is an evidence-based framework that asserts the vital role that local government, NHS and the voluntary sector play in building confident and connected communities.