Self care is a valuable life skill which makes a real and positive difference to the way people are able to navigate common minor health problems. The pandemic, and the pressures on the NHS which persist as a result, have highlighted the need for all of us to understand when and how self care is appropriate.
There is a clear desire among the public to practise self care in order to help themselves and relieve pressure on the NHS – but they need to feel able and supported to self care when that’s the best option for them.
We need to empower individuals to recognise and manage self-treatable symptoms quickly and effectively, with advice from a pharmacist where necessary but without the need for a GP consultation.
Embedding the role of the pharmacist as a key and integral part of the primary healthcare team can empower patients and make the best use of the invaluable skills of our community pharmacy colleagues. This blueprint for a national self care strategy recognises the urgent need to make the best use of the resources available to us by incorporating an enhanced role for pharmacists.
I very much hope the blueprint will attract the support it deserves across the NHS and beyond, and that those projects already operating to support and encourage self care can serve as inspiration for a more systematic approach.