The latest news from the Self Care Forum and its member organisations:

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Emergency Care Review - give your input on how self care can help


emergencycareProfessor 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

Self care can help in the sustainability of the NHS says cross party health group


APPGinquiryOn 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

Guide published to help pharmacy make the most of the RCGP e-learning course on self care for minor ailments


PharmacyRCGPcourseThe 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

International Self Care Day


jpeg_largewithtextToday (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:

Isle of Man: and

NHS England calls for debate on how the NHS can meet future demand


img94joktmu7184NHS 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

SCF Board Member, Dr Patricia Wilkie awarded OBE


Dr Patricia WilkieDr 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.

NICE guidance is a world first on helping people who can't stop smoking in one step


cigarettesLandmark 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

Important opportunity for providers of Self Management Support


qismetThe 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

Chair of NICE talks self care


ProfDavidHaslam1The chair of NICE recently spoke about increasing demands on GP time taking their toll on patient care.

Chairing a two day conference on 30th April, Professor David Haslam told delegates that radical new ways of working were needed to enable GPs to remain close to the profession and see patients while taking on commissioning.

He said “we have to find new ways” of dealing with demand and spoke about the use of technology, including increasing patient access to records. He said: ‘We have to think much more around self care… We have to explore much more around the use of modern technology, Skype, apps, etc.

GPs should also actively look for feedback, he said: ‘I think it is vital we listen to our patients… we listen to complaints and concerns and actively look for feedback all the time and not in dribs and drabs.’

He said GPs were ‘central’ to the NHS. ‘Our centrality and decision-making skills mean we are in demand,’ he added. ‘And the more we are in demand, the more work for CCGs and the less we are in practice, which means the continuity breaks down.

The Self Care Forum believes that equipping people with the right skills to look after their own minor ill health could reduce demand on GPs time.  The SCF is providing tools to support health professionals to educate their patients.  The latest aid is our factsheets for the top ten minor ailments seen in the surgery.

SCF Board member promoted


nigelsparrowGP and Self Care Forum Board member, Professor Nigel Sparrow from the RCGP is the new National Professional Advisor for Primary Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Nigel replaces former SCF Board member Professor David Haslam who stood down from the Board to concentrate on his role of chair at NICE on 1st April 2013, although he remains as an advisor to the SCF Board.

Nigel, who took up his post at the CQC on 15 April 2013, said about his appointment: “I am very pleased to have been asked to join the CQC as the national professional adviser for primary care.  The Commission has a vital role to play in improving and maintaining the quality of health and social care across all healthcare sectors including general practice. I look forward to using my experience in the profession to further facilitate the work that the CQC has been doing with general practice to improve the quality of care for patients and work with the profession to ensure that the implementation of regulation is fair and proportionate.”

Speaking further about self care, Professor Sparrow added: “General practice is about person centred relationship based care and as such GPs are ideally placed to support patients to look after their own health. This is particularly important in the management of both acute self-limiting and long term conditions so that people can safely manage many conditions themselves without reliance on acute primary and secondary care services. The shared care consultation in general practice allows GPs to develop individualised person centred care so that patients know when and how to call for medical help when required.”