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Long Term Conditions Collaborative: Making the Connections - Food For Thought



Better awareness of their long term condition helps people understand their symptoms and experiences and improves their long term health and wellbeing. The role of the care professional is to encourage self confidence and the capacity for self management, support people to have more control of their conditions and their lives and promote their efforts to enhance their health and wellbeing. This means having a shared approach to setting goals and problem solving, and signposting people to the type of support and information they need. It also means having a more outcome-focused approach to planning and reviewing their individual situation. It should take account, too, of people's inherent ability for self-healing and recovery and acknowledge that each of us is the expert in our own life circumstances.

Scotland's approach to self management is set out in the strategy document Gaun Yersel! This was developed by the Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland ( LTCAS) in partnership with people with long term conditions, and describes a set of principles that encapsulate the core messages of the strategy.

Figure 3: LTCAS Information

Figure 3: LTCAS Information

LTCAS is an independent, national charity that brings together hundreds of voluntary and community organisations across Scotland to give a national voice to ensure the interests and needs of people living with long term conditions are addressed. It does this through influencing and campaigning, supporting and improving practice, supporting the voluntary and community long term conditions sector and tackling health inequalities

The voluntary sector and people with long term conditions have extensive experience in supporting people to self manage and providing peer support and has a culture which maximises these approaches. Equal partnerships between health and voluntary sectors, which value each other's experience and contribution, can have a huge impact on outcomes for people and their carers. Further information on such partnerships is continued within Guidance for Partnerships between the NHS and Community and Voluntary organisations for anticipatory care.

The Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland continues to play a lead role in implementing many of the recommendations in Gaun Yersel!

  • operating a "long term conditions hub" that provides support for the work of the range of voluntary sector organisations that represent people with long term conditions
  • gathering evidence of innovative practice and positive developments in self management
  • supporting a shared approach to long term conditions policy development with the Scottish Government
  • overseeing the Self Management Fund that builds the capacity of voluntary and community groups to support self management

Effective self management relies on the provision of accurate, relevant, timely and accessible information from a trusted source on a basis which people feel is sensitive to their situation. NHS 24's National Health Information Support Service is developing a single public portal for an online health information resource. It will offer quality-assured local and national information from the NHS and other sectors, including the third sector; a national health information helpline; and a network of branded health information support centres, embedded in local communities.

Food For Thought:

  • Are all your practitioners aware of the "Gaun Yersel" national strategy for Self management? Have you developed a local action plan to take forward its suggestions?
  • Are you aware of, and do you utilise, the voluntary sector for support and experience in your area?
  • Has your team seen the document "Guidance for Partnerships between the NHS and Community and Voluntary organisations for anticipatory care." If so, have you considered ways to take it forward?