In this article Anne Kennedy and Anne Rogers of the University of Southampton explore findings from the WISE programme, which attempted to implement and embed a routine self-management support system in GP practices in areas of high deprivation. They identify the importance of social networks and support in enabling people to manage their condition, with implications for how services support people to self-manage.
The authors note that the primary care business model rewards practices for clinical activity rather than other forms of support and that patients themselves also expect only medical input from primary care health professionals. Whilst practices do not generally refer people into social networks, the authors cite research showing that people’s social involvement with local groups and personal networks (including healthcare professionals) can impact on their ability to manage a health condition.
They conclude that the future lies in focusing on ways to assist with helping people build up and use diverse and supportive networks as a means of creating the lasting benefits of autonomy, mutuality and reciprocity.