Thirty-seven NHS organisations have now secured free access to a new tool that should help people with long-term conditions better manage their own health and care needs.

Around 15 million people in England have long-term conditions, but only a small number have written care plans and, of those who do, only around a third had any input in them (according to data from 2014). Evidence shows that proper care and support planning can help improve patient lives and save precious NHS resources at the same time.

The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) captures the extent to which people feel engaged and confident in taking care of their health and wellbeing, and is intended to help organisations better tailor support and services to individual needs.

Earlier this year, NHS England said that, building on the success of pilots in six areas of England, a five-year licence had been agreed to expand the use of the PAM tool with up to 1.8 million people, as a core component of the Self-Care programme.

Of the thirty-seven successful bids, Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will use PAM to tailor the information and support individuals need to take an active role in the person centred care planning process, while, in Blackpool, PAM will be used to support frail elderly patients with multiple long-term conditions and at high-risk of an emergency admission, helping to adapt interventions so they are appropriate to the patient's current level of confidence, knowledge and skills.

"We know that many patients want to be equal partners in their own care – supported to manage their conditions and keep themselves well, and empowered to make decisions about the services they do need. The Patient Activation Measure helps to break down the traditional divide between patient and professional which has prevented this in the past, while ensuring that those who need the most support receive it," said Anu Singh, Director for Patient and Public Participation and Insight at NHS England.

Measuring Patient Activation is a key component of the NHS Five Year Forward View's ambition for the service to become better at helping people to manage their own health.