The latest news from the Self Care Forum and its member organisations:
Save our NHS: Time for Action on Self Care
In order to save the NHS for future generations we have launched a resource pack to help general practitioners and Commissioners adopt a cohesive self care strategy. The document, entitled Save our NHS: Time for Action on Self Care is a mandate which provides a self care action plan for the NHS, supplemented with a ‘How to’ guide .
The Save our NHS: Time for Action on Self Care mandate advocates a whole systems approach across the NHS to empower patients to self care in a supportive environment. To enable this to happen in practice, a six-point blueprint has been developed.
- Recognise that supporting self care can create capacity in general practice for longer consultations
- For all healthcare professionals to support self care behaviour at every contact
- Adopt a self care aware conversation in all consultations
- Implement the NHS Constitution at practice level to underpin support for self care
- Support Patient Participation Groups to implement the National Association of Patient Participation programme supporting self care for the practice population
- Encourage healthcare professionals to enable patients to self care by developing national and local incentive schemes.
The mandate is available to download: Mandate (double-page version) or Mandate (single page version)
The publication of the ‘UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018’ highlights that, faced with the growing and substantial risk of antibiotic resistance, more needs to be done to put the message across that antibiotics don’t work and shouldn’t be used for viral infections such as coughs, colds and ‘flu.
To help with this, the Self Care Forum has produced fact sheets for use in general practice consultations which include information for patients on the normal duration of symptoms and the ‘red flag’ symptoms that indicate when medical intervention is required. The fact sheets resulted from research suggesting that many people visit their GP too soon for coughs and colds because they are not sure of how long the symptoms should normally last for, or the symptoms that signal something more serious is wrong.
The AMR strategy lists as an area for action, ‘improving professional education, training and public engagement to improve clinical practice and promote wider understanding of the need for more sustainable use of antibiotics’. This supports the work of the Self Care Forum with fact sheets for cough and sore throat symptoms (more are in development) and our support of European Antibiotic Awareness Day each year on 18th November.
We are spreading the word on the need to support people to self care when they can and visit the NHS when they need to and to do this we believe people need information about the time during which self care is safe and the red flags which mean they should seek medical help. We need this to be supported by all who communicate with patients and public so that there’s consistency in the message no matter which NHS touch point is accessed.
Professor Keith Willett, Director of Acute Episodes of Care at NHS England gave a presentation to the health and voluntary sector strategic partnership programme recently to engage in the NHS England consultation on the review of urgent and emergency care.
If you have not already done so, it would be a good idea to respond to this consultation in relation to self care and self management.
For full details please click here
On 18th July 2013 the All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health held a Summer Reception to launch their new inquiry report examining the future sustainability of the NHS.
At the Reception were a number of expert panellists adding their views on how we can support people to live healthily for longer. The health minister Earl Howe also addressed the meeting and, while he said there has been tremendous progress in health care in the last 65 years, there are still challenging times ahead.
There was agreement amongst the panel members, who were from the King’s Fund, Public Health England, NHS England and Bexley CCG that a public debate about the costs of the health service is necessary.
For years politicians, medical and nursing professions, economists and think tanks have all been talking amongst themselves about the problems we are facing in the NHS as a result of increasing demand, an expanding an ageing population and financial challenges. And now it’s time to include patients and the public, and those working in the NHS in this important debate that affects us all. This was one recommendation made by the APPG and coincides with a recent Government announcement to have “an open and honest debate” about the future shape of the NHS.
The full inquiry report is available to download from the APPG website
The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) has developed a guide for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on how to use the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) e-learning course on ‘supporting self care for minor ailments’.
The RCGP course was developed by PAGB, the Self Care Forum and the RCGP, as part of collaborative promotion of self care aimed at changing the culture of dependency in the NHS. Although the course is written primarily for GPs, it is recognised that it is essential for all healthcare professionals, including pharmacy, to be involved in the promotion of self care in order for widespread behaviour change among patients to take place. Of most significance is that there should be consistency between professionals on the self care aware approach they take and the information they give.
The CPPE guide is designed for use in conjunction with the RCGP e-learning course and is aimed at supporting pharmacy professionals by:
- providing instructions for accessing and using the RCGP e-learning course
- supporting pharmacy professionals to gain the most from the course
- providing contextual information for pharmacy practice
- supporting pharmacists to promote self care of long term and acute conditions
- promoting inter-professional working
- ensuring that pharmacy professionals have parity in terms of access to learning in order to deliver similar self care messages as other healthcare professionals.
Research suggests that for self care to become the norm it is essential that people receive good quality and consistent information about minor ailments. If doctors, nurses and pharmacists provide the same advice, for example, about the timescales that patients can safely self-treat for, it will help build people’s confidence to self care and prevent unnecessary visits to the GP.
To download the guide please click here
Today (24th July) is International Self Care Day.
The awareness day was established to explain to all stakeholders – public, healthcare professionals, the media and health officials, the importance of self care in healthcare and encourage the general public to practice self care.
Society benefits from the people who practice self care and who do not visit health professionals unnecessarily. Self care helps people stay well and prevent chronic non-communicable diseases, thus relieving pressure on a country’s healthcare system.
July 24th (24/7) is the chosen day for International Self-Care Day as it can be used as a reminder that the benefits of self-care are experienced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A toolkit for International Self Care Day can be found on the WSMI website
Coverage in the UK to mark the day included a piece in the Guardian by Self Care Forum Board member, Dr Simon Fradd. Headlined, ‘How telehealth can make savings and improve patient care‘, the article explains why it is time to support patients in their role as experts in their health.
Other coverage includes:
Business Day, South Africa: http://www.bdlive.co.za/life/health/2013/07/23/self-care-is-a-handy-weapon-in-the-fight-against-killer-diseases
Isle of Man: http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/56845/department-of-health-to-mark-international-self-care-day and http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/health/take-better-care-of-yourself-1-5878095
NHS England has called on the public, NHS staff and politicians to have an open and honest debate about the future shape of the NHS in order to meet rising demand, introduce new technology and meet the expectations of its patients.
This is set against a backdrop of flat funding which, if services continue to be delivered in the same way as now, will result in a funding gap which could grow to £30bn between 2013/14 to 2020/21.
A new publication, ‘The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action’ sets out these challenges facing the NHS, including more people living longer with more complex conditions, increasing costs whilst funding remains flat and rising expectation of the quality of care. The document says clearly that the NHS must change to meet these demands and make the most of new medicines and technology and that it will not contemplate reducing or charging for core services.
Further details can be found on the NHS England website
The Self Care Forum also issued a press release in response to NHS England’s call for debate. It points out that discussion should recognise people’s own ability to care for their health as a key component of addressing the sustainability of the NHS. To download the press release please click here
Dr Patricia Wilkie
Self Care Board member and President of the National Association for Patient Participation has been awarded an OBE in the Birthday Honours List (June 15th 2013) for services to healthcare and patient involvement in the NHS.
Dr Wilkie is a social scientist particularly interested in the patient perspective. She has spent much of her working life as a researcher in academic departments of medicine. Research topics included the ethical, social and psychological implications of genetic disease, of HIV and Aids and aspects of changes in prescribing. Patricia helped establish the National Childbirth Trust in Scotland and has worked with many voluntary organisations including the Huntington Chorea Association and the Patients Association.
She established patient groups in several Medical Royal Colleges and was the first lay co-opted member on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and chairman of their lay committee. She has chaired a research ethics committee, has been a lay associate at the GMC, and is an assistant editor of Quality in Primary Care. She was one of the first of two lay members of the Committee on Safety for Medicines and chaired the working group on patient reporting of adverse drug reactions. She is currently a member of several DH committees and Dr Foster Ethics Committee.
Landmark guidance to reduce tobacco-related harm for people who don’t feel able to stop smoking in one step has been published today by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Wednesday 5 June).
The NICE public health guidance is the first in the world to recommend that licensed nicotine-containing products can be used to help people to reduce the amount they smoke, especially those who are highly dependent on nicotine. This includes people who may not be able to stop smoking in one go, those who want to stop smoking without necessarily giving up nicotine, and those who might not be ready to stop but want to reduce the amount they smoke.
The best way to reduce the harm from smoking is to stop completely and the best chance of doing this is still to quit in one step. However, this guidance recognises that for people who’ve been unable to stop using this standard method, the approaches recommended in this new guidance can help. It could also encourage more people to consider reducing how much they smoke, with the support of licensed nicotine-containing products (such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches and gum), and advice from stop smoking services, both of which are proven to be effective.
Full details and the downloadable guidance can be found on the NICE website
The Quality Institute for Self Management Education and Training (QISMET) is committed to increasing the provision of high quality self management education, training and support services, delivered by a plurality of certificated organisations, working within agreed quality standards.
As part of its overall goal; QISMET is keen to ensure that all commissioners (locally and nationally), with a responsibility for long term conditions and self care procurement are aware of existing self management resources and capacity. As a first step QISMET has commissioned Talking Health, Taking Action to identify what self management support already exists across England.
Read more here