Back to basics: Re-examining the role of patient empowerment in diabetes

Koula Asimakopoulou, David Gilbert, Paul Newton, Sasha Scambler

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of patient empowerment is currently popular in research and at policy level. As early as 2001, the UK Government proposed a diabetes health strategy, wishing to “ensure that people with diabetes are empowered to enhance their personal control over the day to day management of their diabetes in a way that enables them to experience the best possible quality of life” [1] (p. 21). It went on to say that “users of the NHS should have choice, voice and control over their lives, build confidence and be active partners in their care”.

This strategy is reflected in the abundance of papers within the area. A search conducted in July 2010 on Scopus, yielded 17,102 publications, which included ‘empowerment’ in the title, abstract or keywords. Of these, at least 353 were about empowerment in diabetes. There can be no doubt then, that empowerment is a popular topic yet, it is surprising to discover a lack of concordance about the meaning and scope of the term. The UK Government strategy highlighted above, is a case in point. The need to empower diabetes patients is explicitly stated but the means to achieve empowerment in practice is not. This observation reflects a generalised lack of clarity around what ‘empowerment’ actually means.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281 - 283
Number of pages3
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • empowerment, diabetes, patient-centred care


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