New NHS online care plan gives chronically ill patients and those who are dying more control over their emergency care

Patients, professionals and Health Secretary Matt Hancock back launch of myCMC, the patient-facing online urgent care plan that empowers people with long term conditions and those at the end of their lives share their wishes about the care they want to receive

People with long term conditions and those at the end of their lives are to be empowered to share vital information and preferences around their care with healthcare professionals, through a new NHS online urgent care plan launching today. 

Backed by Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, myCMC enables patients to start a care plan that shares information about their treatment wishes and needs with emergency care providers, such as 111, out of hours GPs, and the ambulance service. 

Such information can include who to contact in an emergency, a patient’s cultural or spiritual beliefs, if they want to be resuscitated, if they want to donate their organs, or preferred place of death. It gives urgent care providers details about the patient’s condition, how people want to be cared for, and even lets them know if there is a pet that will need looking after if they have to take the patient to hospital. And it helps relieve both the burden of decision in difficult times and conflicts between family members over the right thing to do. Sharing values, hopes and beliefs with loved ones enables them to make better decision when the patients is no longer capable.

With a myCMC plan, patients can put less stress on themselves and their families, by discussing and agreeing tough decisions about topics such as where they want to die, or if they want to be resuscitated. myCMC also helps patients avoid having to repeat information in an emergency, when they might not have the capacity to do so.

Deborah James, a stage four bowel cancer patient at The Royal Marsden and presenter of You Me and the Big C, said about the launch: "Facing up to an incurable illness is difficult to accept. But we need to engage with death, and part of that means making decisions about how you might want to die at home, or in a hospice. With myCMC, people such as myself can plan for what might happen in the future. It means being in control. It means that, with discussions with my consultant, I can make decisions that help me and my family, and I can get on with living."

Until now, the information in myCMC would have typically been captured at a GP appointment, and recorded on Coordinate My Care (CMC). This NHS service is helping tens of thousands get the right care at the right time, by providing healthcare professionals with up-to-date information available online and through mobile devices. 

Now, with myCMC, patients can start their own CMC plan online, in their own time and in their own home. They can stop and start, whenever they like, saving details as they go. Once all the details are filled in, patients simply book a CMC appointment with their GP or nurse, who will review the information, add clinical details and upload the plan to the CMC system. myCMC offers patients autonomy, rational choice and control. It gives them dignity.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who is supporting the launch said: 
“I’m a huge believer in improving the way we provide care for people through the smart use of technology."

The best innovations are often brilliantly simple and Coordinate My Care is an example which shows the difference the NHS can make to people’s lives when they need it most.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

“I want to see improvements across health and care, and more technology like this can help tailor healthcare to individuals and help us fulfil the ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan to move to more person-first care.”

Almost 70,000 CMC plans have been created across London, where it is helping people get the care that they want. For example, almost half of all deaths occur in hospital, when many people do not want to die there. For those with a CMC plan in place, fewer than one in five have died in hospital. It has also helped to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, and saved the NHS millions of pounds.

Professor Julia Riley, the clinical lead for CMC and palliative care consultant in The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust’s Symptom Control and Palliative Care Team, said: “CMC came about after I saw the way in which my sister in law was cared for when she died. She wanted to die at home, but out of hours providers insisted she went to hospital. It would have been better if urgent care providers had known about her wishes in advance. That is why we developed CMC, which has helped thousands share their treatment wishes.” 

Cally Palmer, chief executive, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, which hosts the CMC service, said: “CMC has put patient in control of their own care plan and this project has already delivered great value and benefit to the clinical community, patients and carers. With the launch of myCMC, many more patients are now further empowered to make decisions about the care they want to receive and where they want to receive it. This is vital to improve their experience and choice.”

Healthcare professionals also welcome the ability to see what patients want. Stuart Crichton, chief clinical information officer at Ambulance Service said: “Coordinate my Care helps us treat more people where and how they wish – putting them at the centre of their care - and to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. We gain vital information about the patient’s wishes, preferences for care and important decisions they have made.

“myCMC will allow people to start their own care plan and make decisions themselves. It will join up aspects of the healthcare system to put patients’ needs and wishes even more at the forefront - helping us further improve our care.”

CMC is currently available across London, and is funded by the capital’s 32 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Over the next few years, it has ambitions to expand the service nationally.