Around 18 million people in the UK live with a long term condition such as diabetes, depression, heart disease or arthritis, and this number is expected to double by 2030.
Managing long term conditions, which can be controlled by medication or other therapy but not cured, accounts for almost 70% of the NHS hospital and primary care budget. These costs are set to rocket due to an ageing population and rising levels of obesity and inactivity.
We know that people with a long term condition can improve their health and have a better quality of life by taking a more active role in their own care. But to do this, people need self management skills and access to information about their condition. They also need skilled support and motivation from their clinicians, and healthcare systems that operate very differently from those we have today.
The Health Foundation invested over £5million in a large-scale demonstration programme called Co-creating Health. This programme aimed to embed self management support within mainstream health services across the UK and equip individuals and clinicians to work in partnership to achieve better outcomes. We believe this will lead to measurable improvements in the quality of life of people with long term conditions while also making better use of valuable NHS resources.
The Co-creating Health programme focused on developing the skills and attitudes of both people with long term conditions and their clinicians, while also ensuring systems and services are designed to support and facilitate self management.
Co-creating Health began in 2007, when eight demonstration sites were chosen to deliver the three training and information strands of the programme. Each site focused on one of four clinical areas: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, diabetes and musculoskeletal pain. All demonstration projects spanned primary and secondary care and involved local teams of service users, clinicians and managers.