Changing the conversation about health

College’s Dr Michael Dixon speaks as European roadmap to sustainable healthcare is launched

200sq-tree-picThe need to move to new models of sustainable healthcare has become critical, and the European Steering Group for Sustainable Healthcare has launched a new white paper at its recent conference to show the way.  Last year the College of Medicine worked with AbbVie on the UK contribution to this work: Recipes for sustainable healthcare.

You can see the White Paper here (17 pages, very readable).

The problems facing the European population are serious:

  • 37% of Europe’s population will be over 60 by 2050
  • Burden of chronic diseases: 86% of deaths; over 60% of people over 65; 75% of healthcare spending; €700bn every year
  • Almost 9% of GDP and 14% of total expenditure spent on health on average in the EU Member States
  • Almost 2/3 spent on inpatient & outpatient care

Speaking at the conference, Dr Michael Dixon explored the implications for UK healthcare. He pointed to the Five Year Forward View published in October 2014 which emphasises that “the future needs to be a future that empowers patients to take much more control over their own care and treatment”. He said patient-centred consultations were critical to this – ones which result in fewer prescriptions, but better compliance with prescriptions given, better outcomes, and users of medical services who feel better understood.

For effective shared decision making, he argued that the interaction must include the perspective, beliefs, history and culture of the patient.  A patient with a disease is not always his/her normal self plus disease, but often a changed person.  Different patients will be on different stages on the path towards becoming ‘activated patients’ and healthcare professionals should respect this.

He said that policy needed to focus on four areas:

    • Education – seeing the patient as expert
    • Measuring involvement and hold organisations to account (e.g. Patient Reported Outcome Measures)
    • Enabling local organisations to focus on patients not politicians
    • Creating a national approach – performance support organisations that lead change locally.