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A blueprint for a self care strategy for England
Published on: 19 October 2021
Self care empowers people, it reduces demand on the NHS, it reduces health inequalities, and it improves health outcomes.
Support our call for a national self care strategy
Realising the potential: Developing a blueprint for a self care strategy for England is a major new policy document developed by PAGB in partnership with key healthcare and pharmacy organisations to show how a national self care strategy could be developed. Find out more at our dedicated microsite: selfcarestrategy.org
Why do we need a self care strategy?
The experience of COVID-19 has had a positive impact on the public’s attitudes to self care; however, as restrictions ease, there is a concern that if appropriate policies are not put in place to embed that self care behaviour, people will return to consulting a GP or visiting A&E as they did before the pandemic. Self care has a critical part to play in managing demand in primary care and in enabling the NHS’s recovery from the pandemic.
However, to truly deliver the benefits that self care can bring, a wholesale cultural shift is needed. Self care needs to be prioritised within the system with the development and implementation of a comprehensive self care strategy.
The Government should set an ambitious vision for self care, such that in 10 years’ time:
Individuals should understand and be willing to practise self care
There should be a cultural shift among healthcare professionals towards self care and wellbeing
The system should be designed to support self care, with pharmacy more integrated into the primary care pathway
Digital technology should be used to its full potential to encourage and support self care.
Over the past two years, a clinical consensus has been forged by PAGB and key healthcare professional and pharmacy stakeholders on the need for a self care strategy to provide national leadership on, and to give priority to, self care in local service development. To this end, the group has developed its own blueprint for a self care strategy to support Government and stakeholders to build a system-wide approach to self care.
The main components that a national strategy on self care should include:
Ensuring individuals understand and are willing to practise self care and that there is a cultural shift among healthcare professionals to support this
Designing the system to support self care
Utilising digital technology to its fullest potential to support self care
For each of these components, the blueprint explores the challenges and existing support within the self care continuum, as well as the steps necessary to bring about change and the organisations the Department of Health and Social Care may wish to work with to build upon progress.
The blueprint has been endorsed by:
The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
Company Chemists’ Association
National Association of Primary Care
NHS Clinical Commissioners
National Pharmacy Association
Royal College of Nursing
Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Self Care Forum
Hear more from our partners at our dedicated self care strategy microsite: read guest articles, view testimonials and add your support.
Find out why PAGB Members and friends support calls for a self care strategy.
The need for self care solutions is greater than ever before, and by putting the power of healthcare into the hands of consumers, we can benefit the entire healthcare ecosystem.
At Johnson & Johnson Ltd, we welcome the self care strategy blueprint for England, which recognises the critical role of pharmacists as frontline healthcare professionals, alongside the significant potential of digital technology in supporting self care.
Charmaine England, Area Managing Director for Northern Europe, Johnson & Johnson Ltd
Empowering more people to self care is a key priority for the consumer healthcare industry and I look forward to working with our partners, and with Government and NHS policy makers to facilitate a move towards a holistic, system-wide approach to self care.
Neil Lister, PAGB President
Maxwellia is 100% supportive of the PAGB’s new blueprint for an NHS self care strategy which is calling for improved access to effective treatments through pharmacy. This is a vision we are completely aligned to and that sits at the heart of everything we do at Maxwellia.
Our switch strategy is widening access to a range of medicines and broadening the role of pharmacists so that people can access the advice and medicines they need to manage their health without the need for a GP appointment and prescription, thereby reducing the load on an over-stretched NHS. Through provision of new medicines, training for pharmacists and education for consumers we want to equip people to take control of their own health and well-being.
Anna Maxwell, CEO, Maxwellia
Self care is a valuable life skill which makes a real and positive difference to the way people are able to navigate common minor health problems. The pandemic, and the pressures on the NHS which persist as a result, have highlighted the need for all of us to understand when and how self care is appropriate.
There is a clear desire among the public to practise self care in order to help themselves and relieve pressure on the NHS – but they need to feel able and supported to self care when that’s the best option for them. We need to empower individuals to recognise and manage self-treatable symptoms quickly and effectively, with advice from a pharmacist where necessary but without the need for a GP consultation. Embedding the role of the pharmacist as a key and integral part of the primary healthcare team can empower patients and make the best use of the invaluable skills of our community pharmacy colleagues.
This blueprint for a national self care strategy recognises the urgent need to make the best use of the resources available to us by incorporating an enhanced role for pharmacists. I very much hope the blueprint will attract the support it deserves across the NHS and beyond, and that those projects already operating to support and encourage self care can serve as inspiration for a more systematic approach.
Keep the conversation going – like and share our posts on social media
We encourage you to use this document to help promote the importance of self care and to join our call for a national strategy. Follow us on Twitter @PAGBselfcare and Linked In and retweet/share our posts us spread the word about self care.