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Patient Self-Care

Self Care is the actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, well being or wellness.

Our CCICP Colleagues have produced some self-care leaflets for Physiotherapy and common ailments – please click here

We have produced a short guide to Self Care that you can pick up in the practice. Please click here..

This is based on the longer ‘When to Worry’ booklet. This booklet is a bit longer so please be careful when printing – Please click here.

You can see more about Self Care from the Self-Care Forum website –please click here. 

Our colleagues at Oaklands Medical Centre have created a self-care guide for Ear Care. Please click here:  Blocked ears self care

We have highlighted some of the information below:

Self-Care and Schools/Nurseries

Guidance has been released by the local Medicines Management Team to clarify the position in relation to giving medicines in schools/nursery settings that are not prescribed.  Essentially the guidance allows for parents to consent to medication being administered and a prescription for medication is not required.

For the full guidance please see the MMT website or ask for a copy of the guidance in the practice.

We have also created a handy small guide for parents, incorporating the advice from the CCG about when children are recommended to go back to school and links to the self-care information.  You can pick up a copy in our reception area.  We have liaised with local schools to send this to them.

Why is self care good for people?

Empowering people with the confidence and information to look after themselves when they can, and visit the GP when they need to, gives people greater control of their own health and encourages healthy behaviours that help prevent ill health in the long-term. In many cases people can take care of their minor ailments, reducing the number of GP consultations and enabling GPs to focus on caring for higher risk patients, such as those with comorbidities, the very young and elderly, managing long-term conditions and providing new services.

More cost-effective use of stretched NHS resources allows money to be spent where it’s most needed and improve health outcomes. Furthermore, increased personal responsibility around healthcare helps improve people’s health and wellbeing and better manage long-term conditions when they do develop. This will ultimately ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

The evidence

Around 80% of all care in the UK is self care. The majority of people feel comfortable managing everyday minor ailments like coughs and colds themselves; particularly when they feel confident in recognising the symptoms and have successfully treated using an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine before.

On average, people in the UK experience nearly four symptoms every fortnight, the three commonest being feeling tired/run down, headaches and joint pain and most of these are managed in the community without people seeking professional healthcare.

What happens when people give up on self-care?

Despite people’s willingness to initially self-treat, there are still 57 million GP consultations a year for minor ailments at a total cost to the NHS of £2 billion, which takes up, on average, an hour a day for every GP.

Research shows that people often abandon self care earlier than they need to, typically seeking the advice of a doctor within a period of 4-7 days. The main reasons for this are:

  • Lack of confidence in understanding the normal progress of symptoms (e.g. a cold can last up to 14 days)
  • The perceived severity and duration of symptoms
  • Reassurance that nothing more serious is wrong
  • A prescription to ‘cure’ the illness, even though the same medicine may be available over-the-counter