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Patients to take control of their disease management
Patients are to have greater control over the management of their illness, according to a new report by the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Liam Donaldson. 'The Expert Patient - A new approach to chronic disease management in the 21st century' outlines how patients suffering from long-term diseases, such as asthma, diabetes mellitus and arthritis, will become key decision-makers in the management of their condition. "This will be an ambitious and challenging programme for the NHS," said Prof Donaldson. "Thirty years ago, the very idea of patients taking a lead in their own treatments and therapy would simply have been out of the question. It has long been recognised that people with chronic diseases have considerable knowledge and experience of their own illness. "The new Expert Patients Programme will help to create a new generation of patients who are empowered to take action with the health professional caring for them, for example, reduce pain, improve the use of medication and enhance their overall quality of life. Patients will receive the support to help them take more control of their own health and treatment, to make more appropriate use of health and social services and be more empowered." The report, backed with a 2 million investment, was produced in consultation with patient groups and healthcare professionals. Following the report's recommendations, PCTs will have to initiate pilot studies between 2001 and 2004, with subsequent evaluation leading to national rollout between 2004 and 2007. A national co-ordinating and training resource centre is to be established, and will provide training and information for health, social services and voluntary sector professionals. In addition, a core course will be set up to promote the advantages of user-led management programmes to health professionals.