The rise of lifestyle-related chronic disease in the UK and Europe has led to an increasing burden on healthcare systems. Much of the disease burden is recognised to be preventable or as having the potential to be reduced if citizens take a greater responsibility for their health and make changes to their lifestyles. Self management has been proposed as a key strategy in achieving this. Self management support has been a feature of the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales since the introduction of the Expert Patient Programme in 2002. Since its implementation there has been ongoing debate about the effectiveness of the approach and self management in general. Self management is still in its infancy and there remains a lack of evidence around the systematic implementation of self management support through an integrated pathway approach. This article gives a personal view of the role that self management has in modern healthcare and proposes what a integrated pathway approach may look like. Some of the main factors to consider in the implementation of self management support are discussed.
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