This week has seen the launch of a novel coalition that aims to make patient-centred care for the 15 million patients with long-term conditions (LTC) in England "a reality", and drive lasting change to the way they interact with health and social care services.

The Coalition for Collaborative Care, the launch of which was announced to delegates at NHS Expo in Manchester yesterday, will work to help empower patients to manage their own conditions within a supportive community setting, in the hope of not only improving the care experience and outcomes but also maximising efficiency. 

Recent findings show that, astonishingly, just 5% of patients with a LTC in England have a written care plan, and that 28% of these had no involvement in putting their plan together. And yet, evidence shows that proper care and support planning can help improve patient lives and save precious NHS resources at the same time.

According to David Paynton, National Clinical Lead, RCGP Centre for Commissioning, the current system doesn't work. "People with long-term conditions spend so much time being bounced around the system and GPs, like other health and care professionals, tend to work in silos with different targets," he said.

House of Care

To address this mismatch in the care pathway, the Coalition is utilising a flexible approach called the House of Care, which is basically a depiction of the elements necessary for better care and support planning for patients.

Crucially, this approach, which is adaptable to each local community, also helps to link people with the community activities and social networks that "build confidence and provide support in their daily lives", complementing the clinical care aspects to creating a much more joined-up and comprehensive system.

Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, told delegates that "supportive self-management is not free, not cheap, but must happen," because the healthcare system "can't survive if we carry on doing what we do today".

The Coalition - currently comprised of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Year of Care Partnerships, Nesta, National Voices, NHS England, NHS IQ, The Health Foundation, Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation, ADASS and the College of Social Work - says it will work with commissioners, providers and patient organisations to support local communities in building and adopting their own House of Care, thereby bringing collaborative care from the sidelines into the mainstream.