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People with chronic disease should be encouraged to manage their care

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 17 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2771
  1. Tessa Richards
  1. 1Copenhagen

When European Union health ministers meet in Denmark next week they will discuss how empowerment of citizens and patients can help prevent and control the epidemic of chronic non-communicable disease, estimated to account for 86% of deaths and 77% of the total burden of disease in Europe.

The topic has been put on their agenda by the Danish health minister, Astrid Krag, who last week hosted the first European meeting on patient empowerment, held in Copenhagen under the Danish presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Speaking to delegates from 35 countries, she said that health systems had to undergo radical change. Their prime focus should be on health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic care—not acute (reactive) care—and on changing “the relationship between patients and professionals . . . Both need to see that shared …

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