Alexander Young and Jonathan Bloor look at a guide to patient involvement

While professionals can attend courses and conferences on disease management, there are few such opportunities for lay people to gain such insight into managing their own conditions.

Working with Self-Management Courses: the thoughts of participants, planners and policy-makers details the growth of self management courses from their beginnings at Stanford Medical School to their spread to the UK. It chronicles the early uptake of self management courses in the NHS through anecdotal evidence and participants’ views of initiatives such as HOPE (help to overcome problems effectively).

Practical examples and frameworks for patients are described throughout. The authors examine research reports and venture their opinions on how self management may develop in the future. They appear keen that readers draw their own conclusions on the usefulness of such courses and do not impose their idea of the right or wrong answer.

Participants reflect on lessons learned from the early courses in the UK and highlight how valuable they have become to the NHS and patients themselves. By using personal opinions to highlight the importance of existing research into self management, the authors have created an engaging and enjoyable book that would be valuable to GPs, patients and policy makers.

Alexander Young is a foundation doctor at Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust and Jonathan Bloor is the director of DocCom and a clinical fellow at University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust.