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New case study: The DIY Health Model to empower parents in managing children's health


firstaidThe DIY Health Model was co-created by Bromley by Bow Health Partnership (BBBHP, Tower Hamlets, London) in partnership with the community it serves in response to a need identifiable across most general practices in the UK.

Parents of children under the age of 5 were frequently re-attending St Andrew’s Health Centre (one of the surgeries run by BBBHP) for support with managing self-limiting childhood problems.  These repeat visits led to a recognition that health care professionals needed to work better with parents and carers to identify how to provide knowledge and skills that ensure they were more confident to manage their children’s health at home and when to seek further help.

The first cohort of the programme, with topics including fever management, diarrhoea, vomiting, coughs, cold and flu, saw outstanding results.  Not only were parents more confident and empowered, in the three month period looked at, parents who had attended the most sessions had a reduced attendance for the GP, as well as out-of-hours GP and A&E.

To read the full case study please click here 

Educating patients on coughs and colds has won Self Care Forum Board member a NICE award


Pete SmithDr Pete Smith, GP and Self Care Forum Board Member won the NICE Shared Learning Award 2014.  His entry, which came first out of 70 examples, was based on a practice-wide programme which used NICE guidance to reduce antibiotic prescribing for coughs and colds in his surgery, Churchill Medical Practice in Kingston.

The Self Care Forum’s fact sheets on coughs and the common cold were key to the project which aimed to educate patients on treating these self-limiting conditions at home, and without the use of antibiotics.

Dr Smith was one of three finalists who presented studies at the NICE Annual Conference on 14 May and delegates at the conference choose his as the overall winner.

His antibiotics programme was first presented at PAGB’s Annual Self Care Conference in 2012, at the start of its implementation, with a follow-up presentation at the 2013 Self Care Conference which detailed the results.  He told delegates at the conference, because of his programme “804 people every year will avoid unnecessary antibiotics and 50 out of every 1000 on the practice list will benefit.”  He urged his primary care colleagues to start their own self care schemes saying “with the Self Care Forum’s fact sheets, the difficult bit has been done for you – and it’s been proven to work.”

Further information can be found in Dr Smith’s 2013 presentation and on the NICE website

Pharmacy Voice's Dispensing Health campaign


Dispensing_HealthPharmacy Voice has published a paper entitled Who do you think we are?  to mark the launch of a new long-term campaign, Dispensing Health, which addresses the results of a new YouGov research that shows a lack of public understanding of the role community pharmacy can play in helping manage the common ailments in their everyday health, and in helping people to live healthily.

The paper and press release are available to download.

NHS England campaign to encourage people to seek help from their local pharmacist


earlier the betterNHS England has launched a new campaign today called ‘The earlier, the better.’ It encourages people to seek help from their local pharmacist or go to early on if they’re feeling under the weather.

One of the areas that the Urgent and Emergency Care Review report (published in November 2013) discusses is the much greater use of the skills, experience and convenience of community pharmacists across England for advice on minor ailments and support in management of long-term conditions.

This campaign aims to reduce pressure on the NHS urgent and emergency care system by changing public behaviour to help reduce the number of people requiring emergency admissions with illnesses that could have been effectively treated earlier by self care or community pharmacy services.The campaign will run from 20th January to the end of March 2014 and will feature adverts in the national press, websites and on local radio stations, as well as posters in pharmacies, tweets and stories on Facebook.

There is plenty of support for the campaign including from the NHS Confederation, British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

Treat Yourself Better without antibiotics campaign launches


treat yourself better_without antibioticsA major new consumer campaign, ‘Treat Yourself Better’ without antibiotics was launched by Pharmacy Voice and PAGB at the Annual Self Care Conference on 12th November.

The campaign urges people to self-treat winter ailments such as coughs and colds rather than going to the GP and asking for antibiotics which are ineffective in treating the symptoms of viral infections.  It will run until the end of February 2014.

Research indicates that people often give up on the self-treatment of common winter ailments because the symptoms last longer than they expect.  The campaign therefore aims to educate people on how long such symptoms should typically last for and provide advice on what people can do to better treat themselves with pharmacy support to help prevent unnecessary visits to the GP surgery or A&E department.

To understand better the symptom duration of cold and flu a new informative website,, has been developed that features a symptom checker and warning signs support material, to help people understand how long symptoms could last for and when it is appropriate to seek medical assistance.

The campaign is supported by a wide range of organisations including the Department of Health, Public Health England (through European Antibiotic Awareness Day), NICE, the community pharmacy trade associations and over-the-counter medicines manufacturers.

Speaking at the Annual Self Care Conference, Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality, said he ‘wholeheartedly supports’ the new Treat Yourself Better without antibiotics campaign:

Rob Darracott from Pharmacy Voice speaks about the aims of the Treat Yourself Better without antibiotics campaign:

Is your medicine cabinet fit for the winter?


medicinechestposter2013To support Self Care Week, the Self Care Forum has produced a medicine cabinet poster to put on display in patient waiting rooms.  This explains that winter ailments such as coughs and colds are best treated at home and that antibiotics from the GP aren’t needed.

It also highlights how long the symptoms of common winter ailments should typically last for (middle ear infection: 4 days; sore throat: 1 week; cold: 1.5 weeks; sinusitis: 2.5 weeks; cough: 3 weeks).

PDF versions of the poster can be downloaded below:

Dr Rob Hicks, broadcaster and journalist supports self care aware practice


Dr Rob Hicks clinic - 2Dr Rob Hicks, broadcaster and journalist has voiced his support for self care aware practice:

“By becoming good at self care and being more Self Care Aware you are giving yourself a better chance to live a longer, healthier and more independent life. Your doctor will still be there when you need them, but self care is an easy way to take control of your own health.”

Mandate for self care


Save our NHS: Time for Action on Self Care

mandatecoverIn 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.

  1. Recognise that supporting self care can create capacity in general practice for longer consultations
  2. For all healthcare professionals to support self care behaviour at every contact
  3. Adopt a self care aware conversation in all consultations
  4. Implement the NHS Constitution at practice level to underpin support for self care
  5. Support Patient Participation Groups to implement the National Association of Patient Participation programme supporting self care for the practice population
  6. 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)

Self Care Forum supports new UK 5 year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy, 2013 – 2018


antibioticsmessageThe 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.