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Assessment for Improvement: Our Approach

Medicines Partnership Response to Healthcare Commission Consultation.
Medicines Partnership is an initiative supported by the Department of Health, aimed at enabling patients to get the most out of medicines, by involving them as partners in decisions about treatment and supporting them in medicine taking.
Patients are much more likely to follow treatment and get the most out of medicines if they have been active partners in prescribing decisions and their views and preferences have been recognised and taken into account.  We therefore welcome the Department of Health's inclusion of developmental standards that highlight the importance of patient involvement, shared decision-making and self-management (standards D2, D9 and D10).
Whilst organisations may be at different stages of moving towards a shared decision-making model, provision of accessible, user-friendly information is a core factor that underpins greater patient involvement and will help them to reach this goal.  We note that the provision of appropriate and accessible information is reflected in core standard C16.  However, in order to move towards the developmental standards set for patient involvement, it is important that information is available about the full range of treatment options prior to making a decision, not just about a course of treatment that has already been decided upon by a health professional.
With this in mind, we offer the following comments on the scope of the elements and suggested prompts put forward as part of this consultation:
The prompts that have already been developed for the second element of standard C16 (information about treatment, care and after care) are an excellent first step in setting out that organisations being assessed should provide appropriate and accessible information about effects, side effects, benefits, risks, drawbacks and administration instructions, available in a range of formats.  However we would recommend the prompts also specify that this information be available about all the relevant treatment options in order to truly enable patient choice.
When the consultation period is finished, we will be very interested to hear how the Healthcare Commission plans to assess compliance with core standards and progress towards developmental standards related to patient involvement.  We would be very happy to work with the Commission to help define measurable outcomes associated with shared decision-making and an appropriate framework for assessment, as this is an area of which we have extensive experience.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at:
Medicines Partnership, 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN

tel: 020 7572 2473
Joanne Shaw
Director Medicines Partnership
14 February 2005
Standards referred to in this response
Patient Focus - C16
Health care organisations make information available to patients and the public on their services, provide patients with suitable and accessible information on the care and treatment they receive and, where appropriate, inform patients on what to expect during treatment, care and after care.
Clinical and cost effectiveness - D2
Patients receive effective treatment and care that:
b) take into account their individual requirements and meet their physical, cultural, spiritual and psychological needs and preferences.
Patient focus - D9
Patients, service users and, where appropriate, carers receive timely and suitable information, when they need and want it, on treatment, care, services, prevention and health promotion and are:
a) encouraged to express their preferences and
b) supported to make choices and shared decisions about their own health care.
Patient focus - D10
Patients and service users, particularly those with long term conditions, are helped to contribute to planning of their care and are provided with opportunities and resources to develop competence in self care.

Related Documents
Medicines Partnership response to Healthcare Commission consultation (in MS Word format, 424KB)