Avoid unnecessary GP visits with self-care

The NHS IN West Lancashire is reminding residents to self-care so to avoid any unnecessary trips to their GP.

Many minor ailments and conditions can easily be managed at home by simply visiting a local pharmacy and keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet and NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is helping residents to understand what they can do themselves, therefore avoiding any unnecessary trips to their GP or to the A&E department.

Dr John Caine, a local GP and chair at NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “As a CCG we continue to encourage patients to self-care. We know from speaking to our community that they would like to play a more active role in their health and help to manage their own conditions.  Many GP appointments are unknowingly made unnecessarily with minor ailments that can easily be treated with a visit to a local pharmacy.

“We are aiming to empower local patients and carers to feel confident enough to identify what these conditions are and how they can manage them themselves.

“By patients, pharmacies and GP practices working together in this way, this will inevitably free up local GPs to attend to and see patients with more complicated medical needs sooner.”

This move to encourage people to self-care follows an announcement made in July that NHS West Lancashire CCG is to remove items that are considered of low clinical value and items that are easily available from supermarkets and shops from prescription as of 4 September 2017. These medicines, treatments and conditions include:

  • Treatments for minor ailments and conditions, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen;
  • Treatments where there is little evidence that they have a real clinical benefit, such as cough syrups;
  • Products that do not require clinical treatment, such as bath and shower products

The CCG has created some new promotional materials around the theme ‘Saving Money is Saving Lives’ to help communicate this to the community, which are currently being distributed across West Lancashire. These will encourage patients to self-care, while explaining how by doing so and removing items considered to be of low clinical value the CCG can re-invest this money back into other services.

Dr Caine continued: “In 2016, the CCG spent £390,000 prescribing medicines, treatments and conditions that fall under self-care.

“Savings made by removing these items from prescription can be reimbursed back into savings within West Lancashire to benefit the community.

“This change in prescribing won’t apply to everyone and certain patients will be exempt. This includes patients with a chronic pain management need, babies, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, care home residents and patients being cared for at the end of their life.”

Residents can learn more about self-care and what medicines, products and conditions fall under it, by visiting the CCG’s website or speaking to their local GP. If anyone has been affected by this change or wants to share their views they can contact the CCG on 01695 588 000 or by emailing myview@westlancashireccg.nhs.uk.

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