PAGB calls for government to prioritise self-care in panel discussion with Wes Streeting, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

On Wednesday 24 April, PAGB’s CEO, Michelle Riddalls, joined Wes Streeting MP, on a panel discussion with the Daily Mirror and UCL Business to talk about Labour’s preparations for Government. The discussion focused on improving the health of the nation through innovation and self-care.

Michelle shared with the panel the case for prioritising self-care, highlighting public interest, the cost savings to the NHS and the role the consumer healthcare industry has in providing trusted advice and information on self-care to individuals. The panel also heard from PAGB about our recommendations on how Labour can help to unlock the potential of self-care through reclassification and reducing pressures on the NHS by empowering people though health education and literacy, and digital tools1, with support from the industry.

Wes Streeting MP shared insights into Labour’s preparations for reforming the NHS, commenting on the potential that technology and digital resources have in reducing healthcare inequalities and recognising the role these can play in improving the health of the nation through self-care.

Speaking at the event, Michelle Riddalls, CEO at PAGB shared:

“Self-care empowers people by giving them the tools they need to take ownership of their health. It can reduce demand on the NHS, reduce health inequalities, and it can improve health outcomes.

“Despite all this, what we don’t have yet is a healthcare system that fully integrates the promotion of self-care for self-treatable conditions. That’s why PAGB are calling on the next Government to ensure that self-care is an integral component of efforts to reduce pressures on the NHS and to build a sustainable healthcare system for the future2.

“Every year at least 25 million GP appointments and 5 million A&E appointments are used for self-treatable conditions3. This unnecessary use of NHS resources is avoidable through better use of self-care.

“Working with the expertise of the over-the-counter (OTC) sector, we need the Government to help empower people to self-care by increasing awareness and education about self-treatable conditions and harnessing digital tools to direct people to self-care information. We also need to fully integrate pharmacy’s role in primary care and ensure a supportive and attractive environment for self-care and innovation in the sector to expand access to OTC medicines.”



1 PAGB’s Digital Self-Care Audit 2023

2 PAGB’s General Election Toolkit

2 PAGB’s Self-Care Manifesto

3 The Economic Impact of Over-The-Counter Medicines in the UK, commissioned by PAGB and undertaken independently by Frontier Economics



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