Unity 24 Health and Social Care

Health. In 2004, the government restated its commitment to improving the
quality and accessibility of consumer health information with the announcement of a
three-year programme of action (see box).
Better information, better choices, better health: putting information at the centre
of health (Department of Health 2004)
The strategy is underpinned by a series of principles, as follows:
People should:
• Have access to accurate, high quality, comprehensive information delivered in
the way they want
• Have their personal information needs considered and discussed at every
contact with health care professionals
• Receive as much support as they want to access and understand information
• Be empowered to ask questions and be involved as far as they want in making
decision about, for example, the benefits and risks of action, and how any risks
can be mitigated.
To support these principles, the strategy aims specifically to:
• Embed information as an integral part of delivering healthcare through the
entire healthcare system. Information should be delivered in tandem with care
provision and not as an ‘add-on’, in primary care, secondary care and specialist
• Drive up health outcomes for disadvantaged groups. Helping people in
these groups to access, understand and act upon information will help narrow
health inequalities and overcome many barriers to improving personal health
and using health services.
• Set out a single approach to information. Clarity over what information is to
be made available nationally will allow local NHS organisations to plan and
commission information with confidence and without costly duplication.
• Empower people to get the right information at the right time. Timely
personalised information will help people make choices to improve their health
and help those providing care to give the advice people need when they need it.
• Help people to confidently participate in...