The Personalised Care Group at NHS England is committed to giving patients choice and control over their health as part of its NHS Long Term Plan commitments. 

We want to see people accessing health services working in partnership with the health professionals to make decisions together about their care and treatment

To support this, we have just published a suite of eight decision support tools that will help people with their healthcare professionals in clinical consultations, about their treatment choices for their condition through shared decision making.

We’ve worked with patients, patient charities health professionals and research teams over several months to develop the tools in line with NICE guidance on shared decision making standards.

We’re also grateful for the support of the NHS England Shared Decision Making programme board, which Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, is a member of. The board has provided valuable strategic insight into how this work can benefit people and populations.

It is incredibly important to me that people with lived experience are involved right at the start in developing policy documents and materials. In this instance, one of the board members, Duvie Dafinone, shared why he got involved:

“Shared decision making must be considered as an integral part of patient treatment - it allows everyone to bring their own level of expertise into the overall care be it patient, doctor, pharmacist, consultant etc.

“I joined the NHS England Shared Decision Making programme board because I felt it was the natural place to utilise my lived experience as a patient, and also to be able to assist in the enhancement of the services provided by the NHS.”

Decision support tools are important to the practice of shared decision making, as both reports the Patients Association has published on the practice have found.

We know when people and healthcare professionals share decisions about options of care and treatment it is both more effective and better experience of care. Our aim is that these tools will:

  • Support patients and clinicians to make better decisions
  • Reduce ‘post-decisional regret’ (basically, wishing you’d made a different decision)
  • Improve the experience and outcomes of care through personalised care approaches.

We also know that the skills of the workforce on how to implement shared decision making is essential and have evidence based quality training is available via the Personalised Care Institute. The third point very much aligns with the Patients Association’s patient partnership aims. Published in June 2022, the Patients Association’s own research report shows, healthcare professionals want better and more accessible shared decision making information to give to patients. Publishing the eight new tools is just the start.

Leadership from patients, clinicians and NHS leaders will be a key factor in getting the tools shared, used and having the desired impact. I am grateful to the Patients Association for the support it is giving to the practice of shared decision making, including sharing these new tools with members.

Find the tools on NHS England’s website:

  • Dupuytren’s contracture
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hip osteoarthritis
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Further treatment for atrial fibrillation
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucom
  • Wet age-related macular degeneration

There are more in development but if you use any of the ones already published, we would love to know what you think of them by completing our short feedback form – did they help you make a decision?

Aimee Robson, Deputy Director at the Personalised Care Group NHS England