Established in May 2011, the Self Care Forum is the national UK organisation which aims to further the reach of self care and embed it into everyday life, making it a life long habit and culture.
Progressing self care is crucial and is seen by the Self Care Forum (SCF) as a significant solution towards achieving a sustainable health system. 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.
The individual – should adopt a healthy lifestyle; use health resources only when needed, and first practice self care.
Health professionals – should provide self care advice and support on risk factors for major diseases; provide advice on the self-limiting nature of common illnesses and treatment options.
Governments and communities –should provide initiatives to support healthy lifestyles information in schools; provide incentives to primary care professionals to prioritise the provision of self care advice on the responsible use of health resources.