PROs optimistic over 'self-care' proposals

Healthcare public relations specialists look set to benefit from new government plans to urge millions of people with arthritis, asthma and heart failure to treat themselves.

An internal government document leaked to The Daily Telegraph states patients should be encouraged to carry out 'self-care' instead of going to hospital or consulting a doctor.

Insiders are confident Gordon Brown's plans, unveiled at the start of the year, would create more opportunities for the healthcare PR industry.

In his New Year's message to NHS staff, Brown said: 'We need an NHS that gives all of those with long-term or chronic conditions the choice of greater support, information and advice, allowing them to play a far more active role in managing their own condition in partnership with their clinicians.'

Weber Shandwick's head of healthcare public affairs Tamora Langley said PR would be key to the success of the plans.

She said: 'Public sector organisations need to tailor and personalise their comms to answer "expert patient" queries. This will require more frontline comms staff who will need to be more closely integrated with professional staff.'

Fleishman-Hillard associate director of healthcare public affairs Claire Ashbridge-Thomlinson said the Government's continued focus on patient power would provide more opportunities for patient groups.

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