New self-care campaign launches in Doncaster

A new campaign led by Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group to help raise awareness of the importance of self-care has launched in Doncaster, to help reduce prescribing by encouraging people to purchase over the counter medicines.

Dr Jeremy Bradley and Lynn Murrie, Pharmacy Manager

The ‘Choose self-care’ campaign follows guidance from NHS England to stop routinely prescribing over the counter medicines for 35 common conditions, such as sore throats, mild cystitis, head lice and mild acne.

In November last year, Doncaster took part in a regional campaign, led by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System to seek people’s views on purchasing over the counter medicines. The 569 million reasons campaign saw more than 3,300 responses from Doncaster alone with 82% of people stating they would be happy to pay for medicines that were available to purchase over the counter.

A response to the regional campaign will be made in the coming months, but the local ‘Choose self-care’ campaign aims to make it clear how much it costs the NHS to prescribe routinely available medicines in a drive to reinvest that money on other local NHS services and treatments for more complex conditions. It will also help to increase the number of appointments available, enabling GPs and General Practice Nurses to spend more time supporting complex conditions.

Following guidance from NHS England, probiotics, vitamins and minerals sold as food supplements will also no longer be prescribed. Instead, self-care and a balanced, healthy varied diet should help people maintain optimum vitamin and mineral levels.

The campaign is pitched at General Practice level and includes the cost of both GP and nurse led appointments for conditions and complaints that could have been addressed by a local pharmacist and treated with medicines that could be purchased over the counter. It also includes the cost of medicines available over the counter that were prescribed over the last 12 months.

Dr Jeremy Bradley, Local GP and Doncaster CCG Prescribing Lead said: “The NHS belongs to everybody and therefore together, we must ensure that its resources are used in the best possible way for all patients.

“The 569 million reasons campaign shows that a significant majority of people are happy to purchase over the counter medicines, depending on their condition and the self-care campaign aligns with these initial findings.”

Nick Hunter, Chief Officer of Doncaster Local Pharmaceutical Committee added “One of the major benefits of pharmacies is that no appointment is needed, and a clinically trained pharmacist will be available for confidential health advice.

“Your local pharmacy is the best place to go for the treatment of common healthcare conditions, keeping GP services and other services such as the emergency department free to see patients with more serious conditions.”

The Choose self-care campaign will run throughout April and include posters, social media messages and digital advertising. You can follow the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #selfcaredon.