The Self Care Forum’s Manifesto, ‘My Health, My Life’, was launched at yesterday’s Annual Self Care Conference. It gives positive and practical steps to achieving the personal engagement needed to ensure the future success of the NHS. The recently published ‘NHS Five Year Forward View’[i] acknowledges the same opportunity for increased self care that was put forward 12 years ago in the Wanless Report but includes little on how the necessary universal engagement might be achieved.
The Self Care Forum believes that maximum engagement can be achieved by putting people in charge of their own lives, giving them the information to make their own decisions and by using the health service as a support and resource when needed. To realise the benefits, the Manifesto focuses on the ‘four pillars of self care’: Lifelong learning, empowerment, information and local and national campaigns.
Dr Pete Smith OBE, a GP, winner of the 2014 NICE Shared Learning Award and Self Care Forum Board member explains: “With demand for health services increasing at an alarming rate, increasing levels of public engagement in relation to their health is more important than ever. Our Manifesto includes new recommendations for radical changes in approach to promote engagement and calls for existing methods to be expanded, equipping them with the information and knowledge to self care throughout their lives. It pinpoints what needs to happen throughout life for people to feel confident in taking control of their own health, looking after themselves, making healthy lifestyle choices and knowing when they really do need to seek NHS help and support.
“To ensure the sustainability of the NHS, empower patients and embrace the opportunities outlined in the ‘NHS Five Year Forward View’, we urge health policy leaders to act on these recommendations.”
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive, General Secretary of the RCN and Self Care Forum Board member said: “The NHS is facing overwhelming challenges over the coming years. With an ageing population and public health crises, this agenda is extremely important. Supporting people to care for themselves, and to know when professional treatment is needed, will be crucial in delivering a health service fit for the future and the public must be better engaged and supported in doing this.”
[i] NHS Five Year Forward View, Chapter 1: Why does the NHS need to change?, page 6, published October 2014: http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/5yfv-web.pdf