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New person-centred care guidance puts patients at the heart of treatment

The RCP has today released new guidance to support doctors in putting patients at the heart of everything they do.

The Top tips: person-centred care guidance encourages doctors to:

  • ask patients about their priorities and worries
  • invite carers and relatives into the conversation with the support of the patient
  • encourage a shared decision about the best treatment plan for each individual.

The guidance also recommends doctors avoid medical jargon where possible and help patients take control of their own care plans.

The person-centred care guidance was created through collaboration between NHS doctors and the RCP’s Patient and Carer Network, and builds upon existing patient-empowering initiatives such as #hellomynameis and ‘What matters to me today’. 

A suite of resources are included as part of the toolkit, enabling doctors to learn from examples of what has gone well across the NHS and to incorporate this into their approach. This work builds on the position statement released by the Royal College of Physicians earlier this year.

Professor David Oliver, RCP clinical vice president, said:

No physician I know entered medicine aiming to give care that was less than person-centred. But the enormous pressures on health systems and the clinical workforce risk the priorities and concerns of patients and their families sometimes being marginalised. Simple changes can make a big difference to experience of care and, although person-centred care has come a long way, there is still progress to make.

This resource comes as a result of a genuine partnership between doctors, patients and carers. We have set out the key elements required to define and deliver person-centred care and linked these to a toolkit of good-practice resources and lived examples. I hope it sets out a clear direction for physicians and the clinical teams they work with, despite the very real challenges our services continue to face.

Alice Joy, RCP Patient and Carer Network representative, said:

It’s really great to see patients and doctors working together to create this important guidance. Patients can be confused, in pain and anxious, so it’s vital they are put at ease and made to feel that they have some control about their own care when seeing a doctor. Introducing yourself and asking how you can help makes an immeasurable difference to a patient’s experience.

This new guidance should help clinicians understand priorities from a patient’s perspective and sets out clear actions to help enable patients to get the most out of their interactions with doctors.

Chris Pointon, co-founder of #hellomynameis, said:

I am delighted that the #hellomynameis campaign continues to go from strength to strength not just in the UK but around the world, and is mentioned in this guidance. Being involved with the RCP makes me immensely proud given Kate’s work as a physician [Dr Kate Granger MBE, co-founder of the #hellomynameis campaign] and her being a fellow of the RCP.

Thank you all for your continued support to the campaign Kate and I started over 5 years ago.

Person-centred care is a core component of the RCP Quality Improvement programme, which aims to provide doctors with practical support to develop and provide safe, timely, evidence-based, efficient and patient-centred care.

Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact RCP communications adviser Amarinder Cooner on +44 (0)20 3075 2399.