Your health, your way

Your NHS guide to long-term conditions and self care

What is a care plan?

Everyone with a long-term condition can have a care plan if they want one.

A care plan is an agreement between you and your health professional (or social services) to help you manage your health day to day. It can be a written document or something recorded in your patient notes.

Everyone who has a long-term condition can take part in making their care plan. It helps to assess what care you need and how it will be provided.

If you think a care plan could help you, talk to your GP, nurse or social worker about the support you need to manage your condition better. Mention things that are important to you and any goals you want to work towards. These can range from losing weight or stopping smoking, to going out more or getting back to work.

Also, try to talk about anything that might be worrying you. For example, some people want to talk about how lonely or anxious they feel.

By talking about your care plan with your GP, nurse or social worker, you can say how you want to manage your health and choose what's best for you. The care plan will be based on what you want so you're in control.

The care plan is designed to help you, rather than the GP and other healthcare workers that look after you. It will cover areas including:

  • the goals you want to work towards, such as getting out of the house more, returning to work, or starting a hobby
  • the support services you want, who is in charge of providing these services, what the support services have agreed to do, and when they will do it
  • emergency numbers, such as who you should contact if you become very unwell and your doctor's surgery is closed
  • medicines
  • an eating plan
  • an exercise plan

Make sure you say what's important to you and that you're happy with any decisions that are put into the plan. Unless health and social care workers know what you want, they can't put it in.

Usually your care plan will be printed out for you to take home. If you're not given a paper copy, ask for one. Your care plan may also be stored in your GP practice's computer system.

All the information in the care plan is private, seen only by you and the people who give you care or support. If you want someone else to be allowed to see the care plan, you can say so.

Your plan will be looked over at fixed times as part of a care plan review. You can have a care plan review at least once a year. You can also ask for one if you feel the care plan isn't working or if other things in your life change.

Page last reviewed: 07/11/2014

Next review due: 07/11/2016


The 5 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Φιλιππος said on 22 October 2015

Although I find having a care plan useful, it saves time as each health professional asks the same questions, I must say that my GP and consultants have shown little interest in helping with its creation. So, rather than representing an agreement with health professionals, the care plan has become a substitute for having someone support and monitor my condition.

I suffer from Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Raynaud's phenomenon. The medication I take suppresses my immune system and risks liver damage, so I have regular blood tests.

Although I can reach my local GP practice on foot, I have referrals to three different hospitals, each over 40 miles away and I am dependent on others to ferry me back and forth as I do not drive.

As care is so fragmented and information is not shared efficiently between different parts of the NHS, the care plan is the only way to consolidate advice from the different health practitioners and provide a consistent overview of my care.

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Phuppetty said on 05 October 2015

The care plan is a waste of time. I have one in place as I am a cancer patient with fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, asthma, diverticular disease, CIPN. I still have to wait between 2 and 4 weeks for an appointment, I can wait up to 2 months to see my named GP and 3 weeks to see a nurse. When I phoned as an urgent case last week the duty doctor said I would have to get a taxi to another village (the practice covers 2 large villages) to be seen as I don't drive. What is the point of a care plan when the doctor totally ignores the reasons for the plan (like disability through illness) and makes no effort at all to treat the patient?

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Bob_457 said on 22 April 2015

I am 48 and have a long term chronic medial condition (insulin dependant diabetes),asthma,hypo thyroid,hypertension.

I have never heard of a "care plan"...I was I'll recently and called my GP surgery on 8th April and was told the earliest appointment was 20th April.
Needless to say I ended up in A&E as a result of not being able to get help from my GP.

Why doesn't anyone contact patients to offer a better service and inform us of "care plan"

I do not have any confidence in my local GP surgery in the event if illness or if I need advice as was proven just recently as detailed above .

Communication is key!

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zawh1 said on 05 August 2013

Not sure if you are still looking, fair bit of information available at about care planning generally and care planning content for electronic systems

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ktmca said on 06 August 2012

This is a helpful page as regards to explaining Care Plans. Are other site users aware of any exisiting software that facilitates Care Plans? Or are they manily paper based? I would really like to learn more about automated ones?


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