Self care

A new campaign has been launched 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, Prescribing Lead, NHS Doncaster CCG

Self-care is extremely important to a person’s health and wellbeing as it supports individuals to have control over their health, ultimately helping to improve their quality of life. Medicine for self-care is a central part of this approach, and many GP practices already encourage patients to take a personalised approach to keeping themselves healthy, including getting advice from the local community pharmacy.

Doncaster’s ‘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.

Example self-care poster

Many treatments for minor illnesses are more expensive when they are provided on an NHS prescription compared to the purchase price from pharmacies and supermarkets.

Local pharmacies are ideally placed to support individuals with advice for the treatment of minor illnesses. There is no need for an appointment, they stock a wide range of inexpensive treatments, and many pharmacies are open long hours over seven days a week.

Probiotics, vitamins and minerals sold as food supplements will no longer be prescribed. Instead, self-care and a balanced, healthy varied diet should help people maintain optimum vitamin and mineral levels.

The campaign also seeks to help increase the number of appointments available, enabling GPs and General Practice Nurses to spend more time supporting complex conditions.

In November last year, Doncaster CCG joined other areas across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and took part in a regional campaign 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 available 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.