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Knowledge Hub

Think-tank urges NHS to educate patients to reduce A&E pressure

Can teaching patients to manage their symptoms reduce emergency admissions?


The NHS could reduce pressure on services by training patients to manage their own long-term conditions according to a healthcare charity’s research.


The Health Foundation looked at patient activation measures scores in 9,000 adults with one or more long-term condition. These scores assess knowledge, skill and confidence in self-management.


It found that patients with better management skills had 38% fewer emergency admissions and 32% fewer A&E attendances. They were also less likely to present at A&E with a minor condition and had fewer GP appointments.


More than 60% of emergency admissions involve patients with a long-term condition (LTC), such as asthma, diabetes or mental illness. Techniques for helping patients manage an LTC include health coaching, apps and peer support.


The Health Foundation urged policy-makers and NHS organisations to include self-management in their long-term plans and strategies.


Further information

BMJ: Self-management capability in patients with long-term conditions is associated with reduced healthcare utilisation across a whole health economy: cross-sectional analysis of electronic health records

Health Foundation: Briefing: Reducing emergency admissions: unlocking the potential of people to better manage their long-term conditions