The Government’s plan for recovering access to primary care is welcome news for patients and the NHS, as well as the wider healthcare system. By giving people more options for how and where to manage their health, the plan has the potential to embed self-care in the primary care pathway, empowering patients and helping to alleviate demand on frontline services.
In 2021, the Self-care Strategy Group, of which PAGB is a member, developed a blueprint on how to support self-care in England. Many of its recommendations have now been incorporated into the Government’s primary care recovery plan, including: an enhanced role for community pharmacists, improved interoperability of IT systems to support the use of shared care records by GPs and pharmacists, increased access to effective over-the-counter medicines and greater use of digital technologies to support people to self-care.
Self-care is not no care. With the right infrastructure, trusted information, and support, it allows people to proactively manage their self-treatable conditions and minor ailments, improving the long-term health of the nation, as well as the NHS. If implemented effectively and in full, the primary care recovery plan has the potential to achieve this. PAGB and the rest of the Self-care Strategy Group stand ready to work with the Government and our colleagues across primary care to help take it forward.
Michelle Riddalls, PAGB Chief Executive, said:
“I’m delighted to see so many of the recommendations from our self-care strategy blueprint being taken forward in the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care. Of the ten recommendations made by PAGB and our partners in the blueprint, the Government is taking action on eight. This is a huge win for PAGB, our Self-Care Strategy Group partners and people who want to self-care but haven’t previously had the tools to do so.
“PAGB has been championing self-care for over 50 years and we are pleased to see the Government and NHS England embracing it. Self-care empowers people, enabling them to treat self-treatable conditions appropriately and effectively. It can protect vital NHS resources by reducing the number of unnecessary GP appointments and A&E attendances. It also narrows health inequalities and improves outcomes by equipping people with the tools to treat themselves effectively and appropriately. I’m really pleased that the Government and NHS England are now taking the steps to embed self-care into primary care practices.”
Below are the group’s individual organisational responses to the plan: