Evidence papers

Rolling Out Social Prescribing

This report sets out the findings of research conducted by National Voices for NHS England to explore the perspectives and experiences of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in relation to the NHS rollout of social prescribing. We heard from over 300 people through a series of interviews, workshops and online engagements between December 2019 and June 2020.

Person-centred care in 2017


Policy makers have been aspiring to a ‘patient-centred NHS’ in England for at least 20 years. Person-centred care has become an increasingly prominent stated ambition both of national policy and local practice.

What difference, if any, have these stated ambitions made to the experiences of people who need and use services and support? We wanted to know.

Teeth in the NHS Constitution

National Voices used literature reviews and a comprehensive survey of patient groups and organisations to establish whether the right set out in the NHS Constitution - to receive clinically appropriate treatments that have been approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) – is being delivered in practice. This report identifies a number of barriers and makes a series of recommendations.

Peer Support: What Is It and Does It Work?

Published by National Voices and Nesta, this report is evidence that peer support can help people feel more knowledgeable, confident and happy, and less isolated and alone. The report also shows that there is a limited understanding of the different forms of peer support, how best to deliver support and the forms of training and infrastructure to get the most impact from it; so, further evidence is needed to fully understand the impact it has on the health service and individuals with long-term health conditions.

Promoting prevention

There is much that people can do actively to increase their chances of a healthy life. This includes exercising, eating well, avoiding health risks, not smoking and limiting alcohol. Community initiatives and health promotion activities complement individual efforts. Health promotion involves enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health status.

Supporting self-management

People can play a distinct role in protecting their health, choosing appropriate treatments and managing long-term conditions. Self-management includes all the actions taken by people to recognise, treat and manage their own healthcare independently of or in partnership with the healthcare system. 

We collated data from 228 systematic reviews. This showed that the most effective approaches to supporting self management include:

Supporting shared decision-making

One of the core components of person-centred care is engaging people in decisions about their own care and treatment.

Frequently, treatment decisions are not just about clinical effectiveness. Where there are different options with different benefits and harms, it is important that these are tested against the values, preferences and circumstances of the individual patient.

For example, faced with a similar treatment decision, one person may prefer surgery that removes pain but requires long recovery; another may prefer ‘watchful waiting’ and pain management.

Enhancing experience of healthcare

How healthcare is experienced can be just as important as what treatment people receive. Patient experience refers to how people think and feel about what happens when they use health services. 

When people have a better experience of healthcare, it can lead to better outcomes, including reduced resource use. This is a key priority for policy and practice, yet more needs to be done to ensure that all patients have a good experience of healthcare..

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