What is Self Care?

The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.

From coughs, colds and sore throats to upset stomachs, aches and pains, self-care at home is the best choice to treat every minor illnesses, ailments and injuries.

Self Care

Self Care Benefits

Empowering people with the confidence and information to look after themselves when they can, and visit the GP when they need to, gives people greater control of their own health and encourages healthy behaviours that help prevent ill health in the long-term. In many cases people can take care of their minor ailments, reducing the number of GP consultations and enabling GPs to focus on caring for higher risk patients, such as those with comorbidities, the very young and elderly, managing long-term conditions and providing new services.

More cost-effective use of stretched NHS resources allows money to be spent where it’s most needed and improve health outcomes. Furthermore, increased personal responsibility around healthcare helps improve people’s health and wellbeing and better manage long-term conditions when they do develop. This will ultimately ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

Self Care

Self Care

What happens when people give up on self-care?

Despite people’s willingness to initially self-treat, there are still 57 million GP consultations a year for minor ailments at a total cost to the NHS of £2 billion, which takes up, on average, an hour a day for every GP.

Research shows that people often abandon self care earlier than they need to, typically seeking the advice of a doctor within a period of 4-7 days. The main reasons for this are:

• Lack of confidence in understanding the normal progress of symptoms (e.g. a cold can last up to 14 days)

• The perceived severity and duration of symptoms

• Reassurance that nothing more serious is wrong

• A prescription to ‘cure’ the illness, even though the same medicine may be available over-the-counter

Self Care for life
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