A Self Care White Paper: supporting the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan


As the Government and NHS England work to implement the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, PAGB is calling for a national self care strategy. Coordinated national leadership and action to promote self care is vital to achieving the behaviour change required to support a meaningful shift towards prevention and ensure the NHS’s future sustainability.

In March 2019, PAGB launched a White Paper, setting out a series of policies which must be implemented to create and embed a culture of self care, including supporting people to manage their own health, tackling health inequalities and reducing pressures on NHS services.

It follows the publication last year of PAGB’s interim white paper on the same topic, and draws on the opportunities and ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan to align with national policy.

“The longstanding aim [of the NHS] has been to prevent as much illness as possible. Then illness which cannot be prevented should where possible be treated in community and primary care. If care is required at hospital, its goal is treatment without having to stay in as an inpatient wherever possible” The NHS Long Term Plan (pg. 11)

To help achieve this aim and support the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan, PAGB’s self care white paper sets out:


At the heart of the white paper is a call for a national strategy for self care. This national leadership is needed to overcome the key challenges to supporting people to take greater ownership of their health and wellbeing, including low health literacy.

PAGB is committed to working with the Government and NHS England to support the development of a national self care strategy. This white paper sets out seven key recommendations which should be included in a national self care strategy, to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan:

  1. Utilise digital solutions to support and increase self care
  2. Introduce recommendation prescription for GPs
  3. Include self care, and methods of supporting people to self care as a key requirement in professional training curricula for all healthcare professionals
  4. Ensure self care techniques and signposting to appropriate use of NHS services are included as core components of the health education curricula in England
  5. Introduce a year-round pharmacy awareness campaign
  6. Enable community pharmacists to refer to other healthcare professionals, fast-tracked if appropriate
  7. Give community pharmacists ‘write’ access to patient medical records so any medication or advice offered can be recorded consistently

Support for PAGB’s White Paper recommendations

“It’s time for a national self care strategy to help people stay well and manage the growing demand on our health service” hear more in this video message from Norman Lamb MP

Normal Lamb MP video


“Community pharmacy is ideally placed to ease pressure on GPs and hospitals by supporting people to self-care. We fully support the PAGB’s call for a national strategy for self-care. As this report shows, there are many examples of good practice that demonstrate the need for a national, joined-up approach. We would welcome the opportunity to help deliver a more sustainable future for our health and social care system.”

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive, Company Chemists’ Association


“Pharmacists have a crucial role to play in primary care and helping people to stay well. We welcome and support PAGB’s White Paper, which sets out the importance of using digital solutions to integrate the pharmacy offer into the care pathway, as well as exploring the untapped potential of technology for preventative and self care. We hope to see a greater focus on this as the NHS looks to implement its Long Term Plan.”

Gary Dannatt, Chief Operating Officer, Pharmacy2U

White paper development

A Self Care White Paper: supporting the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan follows publication of PAGB’s interim white paper ‘A long-term vision for self care’ in 2018, which took a national view of the importance of self care and its wider role in healthcare.

Prior to this, PAGB published a Green Paper in 2016,  ‘Enabling Self Care in Greater Manchester’, which we used to gather information from stakeholders on self care policies and how implementation could benefit the health economy in Greater Manchester. The aim of the Green Paper was to identify the levers for implementation of policy initiatives and to help shift the system towards a greater focus on preventative care, which could be translated to other parts of the UK under a national self care strategy.  Read more

Read more on our news page

A roundtable on self care

PAGB’s Interim White Paper was launched to coincide with a parliamentary roundtable event on 18 July 2018, Creating a sustainable future for the NHS: a roundtable discussion on a National Self Care Strategy.

The event, chaired by Martin Vickers MP and hosted jointly by PAGB, Self Care Forum and the Royal College of General Practitioners, invited MPs and key stakeholders from the health sector to discuss self care in the context of a new long-term vision for the NHS, setting out the key priorities for a national self care strategy, and how best to drive system-wide behavioural change.


Download a summary report of the meeting:  ‘Creating a sustainable future for the NHS: a roundtable discussion on the need for a National Self Care Strategy’.