PAGB calls for national self care strategy

PAGB chief executive John Smith

The NHS should put a national self care strategy at the heart of its long term plans, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain has said in the wake of Theresa May’s announcement of a £20 million ‘birthday present’ to the health service.

PAGB said greater focus on self care was needed “to ensure a sustainable future” for health and social care in the UK, adding that while the money was welcome, “an additional efficiency saving of at least 1.1 per cent a year will be needed to meet the rising demand from the growing and ageing population”.

The NHS “needs more than just a cash injection” to cope with the challenges it faces, PAGB said.

Long-term health and care vision

PAGB chief executive John Smith commented: “The Prime Minister has signalled that the new financial settlement for the NHS must be accompanied by a new long-term vision for the health and care system in England, focused on further integrating services, strengthening accountability, and empowering people to take more responsibility for their own health.”

Mr Smith said that self care must be part of this long-term vision: “It is critical that this vision addresses the increasing pressure on services, reduces wasteful practices and shifts the entire system towards a greater focus on preventative and holistic self care.”

Mr Smith said that a national self care strategy should have three key objectives: enhanced self care; improved health literacy; and a realisation of the potential role of pharmacists.

“To have the greatest impact, self care policies need to be coordinated across the system and that is why we need a national strategy as a priority,” Mr Smith said.


Policy recommendations

PAGB makes a number of policy recommendations in A long-term vision for self care: interim white paper, including:

  • Introduce ‘recommendation’ prescriptions for GPs to issue to patients
  • Roll out the NHS 111 pilot schemes to improve signposting to self care
  • Continue to invest in and expand the Stay Well Pharmacy campaign
  • Enable community pharmacists to refer to other healthcare professionals, on a fast-tracked basis if needed
  • Give community pharmacists ‘write’ access to patient medical records.

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