NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging local residents to take simple measures to stay well by becoming more knowledgeable about their health.
The message comes as national Self Care Week is launched. The annual event, which this year runs from November 18 to 24, will focus on ‘Self Care for Life – Take Control’ with the intention being to raise awareness of how you can take control of your health.
‘Self Care for Life’ means eating properly, taking regular exercise and looking after symptoms of common everyday illness.
It’s also about understanding any long term conditions you may have and managing those on a daily basis.
Dr David Wrigley, a Carnforth GP and self care lead at NHS Lancashire North CCG, said: “We can’t highlight enough the importance of self care.
“By taking simple measures such as eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular exercise, people can make a positive impact on their health and mental wellbeing.
“Self Care Week provides us with an ideal opportunity to stress the benefits of taking care of yourself and also recognising when to self care and when to seek advice.
“Many people often turn to their local GP for advice, when in fact they could have treated themselves at home with over the counter remedies or visited their local pharmacist, who can help treat a lot of minor illnesses and ailments.”
For example, in Dr Wrigley’s GP practice which has a patient list of 14,500 patients, one month saw a total of:
·2,642 GP appointments booked
·751 GP telephone consultations
·450 GP home visits
·838 nurse practitioner appointments for same day patient access
In Lancashire North, a pilot is underway to provide patients that could ‘self care’, with help and information sheets to assist them to treat their illnesses with ‘self care’ now and in the future.
Up to now the top three illnesses where people have presented to their GP surgery rather than treating themselves, have been sore throats, coughs and the common cold.
The majority of these could be safely treated at home but instead are putting growing pressure on GP practices and local A&E services.
For more information about how to self care you can go to www.nhs.uk/selfcare where you will find a wealth of information.
The information sheets from the pilot can also be viewed at http://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/.