Patient education


Image from The Big Draw 2009
Image from The Big Draw 2009

Various “self-management” techniques have been shown to be effective in fostering appropriate health behaviours:

  • increasing self-efficacy
  • improving compliance with medication regimens
  • decreasing pain
  • improving health status, and
  • lowering health-care costs in managing health conditions such as asthma, arthritis, and diabetes.

Why is supported self-management important?

The greatest challenge for the NHS is no longer curing infectious diseases or treating acute conditions. The greatest challenge now is enabling the nearly 1 in 3 people who have a long-term condition to live healthier and longer lives without bankrupting the NHS.

Read more

If that is the challenge, what is the reality?

The reality is that people who live with a long-term condition spend very few hours in contact with health services. Some of those hours are for routine tests and appointments; many are for crisis interventions. Treating their long-term condition demands a different sort of health service, one in which the primary function is to support people to self-manage.

This picture was drawn by people living with a long-term condition supported by some clinicians. It really does capture that reality nicely.


There is a growing appreciation in health services of this reality and of the central importance both to improving outcomes and to improving quality of people with a long-term condition being actively engaged in their care.