The Person-Centred Care Toolkit has been developed with NHS England to support GPs and primary care teams deliver person-centred care.

People with multiple long-term conditions account for about 50% of all GP appointments but the current 10-minute GP consultation doesn't allow enough time to effectively address all health and well-being issues. The person-centred care approach gives people more choice and control in their lives by providing an approach that is appropriate to the individual's needs. It involves a conversation shift from asking 'what's the matter with you' to 'what matters to you'.

Person-centred care provides care that responds to individual personal preferences, needs and values and assures that what matters most to the person guides clinical decisions. It looks to build upon strengths, resources and skills that an individual, their carers, family and communities have in order to enable and empower people. It provides care which does things 'with' people rather than 'to' or 'for' them.

Person centred care as a term describes the ethos and approach that enables this to happen. It requires a whole system and team approach, with all stakeholders valuing the principles and processes of person centred care, and all providers ensuring their services are set up to deliver to these.

‘Person’ in this context refers to individual patients, but includes their carers and significant support networks if appropriate.

Key aspects of person-centred care include:

  • Respect for the person’s values, preferences and expressed needs
  • Personalised, co-ordinated and integrated health and social care and support
  • Equal partnership in the relationship between health care professionals and patients
  • Involvement of family, friends and carers
  • Continuity of care
  • High quality education and information.

Person-centred care resonates with the Wanless concept of a ‘fully engaged population’, with all the associated health, wellbeing and economic benefits. Using a person-centred approach has been shown to benefit patients, health professionals and health systems as well as reduce health inequalities. One of the key shifts in person-centre care is moving from a reactive to a proactive model where preparation is key, something that requires a change in processes.

It can improve concordance between the health professional and individual thereby improving the working relationship, health outcomes and GP job satisfaction as well as reducing the demand on primary care.

Key tools include social prescribing, collaborative care and support planning, shared decision making and health coaching.

This toolkit has been developed in partnership between the RCGP and NHS England.

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