Embed self care approach to empower patients and support NHS, say healthcare bodies

Embed self care approach to empower patients and support NHS, say healthcare bodies

October 6, 2020

A joint statement on self care, recommending ways that the NHS could build on the self care messaging adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been published by a coalition of healthcare and industry bodies.

The Clinical Consensus on Self Care calls for a national strategy for self care and makes a series of recommendations based on discussions between key stakeholders. PSNC is a signatory to the consensus alongside fellow pharmacy bodies the NPA and CCA, NHS Clinical Commissioners, the consumer healthcare association PAGB, the Self Care Forum and the Royal College of Nursing.

In regards to community pharmacy, the clinical consensus recommends that NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) builds on the successful Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) by exploring additional pathways to access the service, and that community pharmacists are enabled to populate medical records and can access fully integrated IT systems.

The value of individuals taking ownership of their own health and ultimately learning to manage their self-treatable conditions has long been seen as key to reducing demands on the NHS and improving health outcomes. However, this importance has been further enhanced during the COVID-19 pandemic and will only continue going forwards.

A survey by PAGB earlier this year found that almost seven out of ten respondents (69%) who might not have considered self care as their first option before the pandemic said they were more likely to do so in future. As we move into the next stage of the pandemic response, the clinical consensus signatories urge policymakers to make the most of this opportunity to further embed self care behaviours into people’s lives.

The clinical consensus also recommends:

  • Primary Care Networks consider ways to improve self care in their local populations;
  • A system-wide approach to improving health literacy, for both healthcare professionals and as part of the national curriculum for school children; and
  • NHSX should evaluate the use of technologies that have been developed during the COVID-19 pandemic and develop them to cover a wider range of minor ailments to promote self care and manage demand on the NHS.

Read the Clinical Consensus on Self Care in full

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