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

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.”

SCF Board member appointed chair of Men's Health Forum


johnchisholm_bowtieDr John Chisholm is a long-term supporter of and advisor to the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) on self care and men’s access to primary care. He had a high profile role in negotiating the new contract for NHS general practitioners.

Dr Chisholm has been a member of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners for eight years, and has held a number of elected positions at the British Medical Association (BMA) culminating in leading GPs’ negotiations with government for seven years. He has also held positions on a large number of other UK committees and organisations, including bodies advising the government.

John said: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to chair the Men’s Health Forum – an organisation whose work I have always made time to support. We now know a lot about how to improve men’s health but there is still a lot to do to put that knowledge into practice and make a real difference to men. I look forward to building on the MHF’s many successes.’

John Chisholm replaces Professor Alan White as chair of the Men’s Health Forum. While leader of the Forum, Alan became the world’s first professor of men’s health. One of the organisation’s founders, he had been chair since the MHF became an independent charity in 2001.
John’s appointment is the latest in a series of developments designed to position the Forum to operate in the new funding climate and to work with the new NHS. Earlier this year the charity appointed a new chief executive, Martin Tod, who had previously held senior positions at Shelter, Vodafone and Proctor & Gamble.

Last week the Department of Health announced that the MHF will continue to be one of its voluntary sector strategic partners working with NHS England and Public Health England.

The World Health Organisation encourages Self Care


WHOEfforts on an international level, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), have been made to encourage and promote self care in connection with high blood pressure (hypertension).

The WHO wants governments to do more to prevent people from suffering from hypertension and so, is highlighting five lifestyle changes people can make to look after themselves:-

Keeping active, slashing salt intake, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, cutting down on alcohol and not smoking, can all cut the chances of developing the deadly condition.

Blood pressure has been dubbed the “silent killer” because it often has few, if any, symptoms until it is too late.

One in three adults, roughly a billion people around the globe suffer and in the UK alone at least 16 million victims have been diagnosed, putting them at higher risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure

Scientists at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, say people who have an active, healthy lifestyle can cut their risk of developing hypertension by two-thirds.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial when taking responsibility for one’s own health and preventing the onset of serious diseases. According to the Self Care Forum’s continuum, lifestyle falls at the individual responsibility end of the continuum of self care, and we very much welcome the WHO’s recognition of the importance of taking care of yourself.

Find out more on the WHO website:

NHS Constitution consultation


NHS-ConstitutionA public consultation to strengthen the NHS Constitution was announced in November 2012.  The constitution, which was originally published in 2009, set out people’s rights and responsibilities for entitlement to NHS Care.

Profession Steve Field heads a team of health experts working on the consultation and approached the Self Care Forum to make a submission.

This was made recently, with the focus on responsibilities and the provisions for encouraging greater individual responsibility.

The main points made in the consultation response are:

  • shared decision-making as the way forward in engendering patient-centred approaches throughout the system, from the first contact to the last
  • there is the need for health literacy to be built into all interactions with patients and the public with the necessary education and training put in place to help in this process.
  • there should be support for self care, health literacy, and health education in schools, and for cross-Government links between the Department of Health and the Department for Education, as well as reference to the responsibility of Local Authorities to have regard to the NHS Constitution
  • there is the need to add the meaning of responsibility for health and self care. There is sometimes a misunderstanding about what we mean by ‘self care’ which should be addressed since there is a significant and growing acceptance of its importance for individuals and organisations alike.

To download a full copy of the response please click here.  Responses to the consultation will be fed into a revised version of the NHS Constitution, which is expected in April 2013.

Practice Nurse articles on self care


Practice Nurse has published a series of articles about self care for minor ailments.  These were written by Self Care Forum Board members and topics include indigestion, nasal congestion, constipation and headache / migraine.

These can be found on the Articles page

Practice Business article published


hands-coloursJo Wady, Practice Manager from St Lawrence Surgery in Worthing spoke to Practice Business about the surgery’s self care mission: “The Self Care Forum has said that 20% of patients go to GPs for minor ailments – the top ones being back pain, sore throats, chest infections, eczema, that sort of thing – when actually they can look after themselves at home.

“We think if we can try to manage the demand in Worthing it will help the ever-increasing demands on GP practices and hopefully this will have a knock-on effect and reduce the number of A%E attendances – and maybe even emergency admissions.”

To read the article in full please click here (published courtesy of Practice Business)

Dr Steve Boorman Awarded CBE


Dr-Steve-BoormanSelf Care Forum Board Member, Dr Steve Boorman, has been appointed a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Like all Board Members, Steve is a great advocate of self care and was awarded the honour for his work in the field of occupational health.  He revolutionised occupational health practices in the NHS and Royal Mail, and led a ministerial review into NHS staff health and well-being.

Talking about the honour, Steve said “It is humbling to know that I have been recognised, but it’s also a testament to the teams I have worked with.”

Steve also spoke about his work on the Self Care Forum Board, “I have enjoyed supporting the self care forum, which is a great example of professionals from a wide range of disciplines working as a team to highlight the opportunities afforded by better awareness of self care”

Self Care Week Review 2012


SelfCareWeekbannerOn behalf of the organisers of Self Care Week we would like to thank everyone who participated in SCW 2012.  Without your help our aim to have everyone self care for a healthier, happier life would not be possible.  Hopefully, we are one step closer to forwarding the reach of self care and having it embedded into everyday life.

Each year there is growing interest and enthusiasm for progressing self care with more and more organisations getting involved in the campaign to highlight the benefits of self care to their population.  Here is a review of some of the activities that took place during the campaign.

If you have any comments on the review or the Campaign do contact  Additionally, if you would like to be added to the mailing list for news of the next campaign, which will take place from 18 – 24 November 2013, again please contact

Medicine Cabinet Poster


MedChestPosterAsk your patients to give their medicine cabinet a makeover.

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home means there’s no need for people to delay in starting to relieve the symptoms of minor conditions, especially out-of-hours.

You can download and print-off the poster below which explains what a well-stocked medicine cabinet should contain: