A range of common illnesses such as cold and flu and minor injuries can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest. Many patients attend with conditions that would get better with self-care. Studies show that 25-40% of consultations with a GP are unnecessary so it would help if patients only booked an appointment with a GP if they really need to.
Examples of the ailments best treated by yourself are:
- Upset stomach
- Grazed knee
- Common cold
- Sore throat
- Colds & Flu
Instead of receiving over-the-counter products (such as paracetamol or ibuprofen) for short-term, self-limiting conditions (see information below) on prescription, patients will be encouraged to self-care and buy their own from their local pharmacy.
Rather than visiting their GP, most people can take care of themselves when they have a minor ailment through a combination of self-care and over-the-counter medications, which can be bought in supermarkets and shops as well as in pharmacies.
Please note that:
- There are no plans to limit OTC medicines for people with long-term conditions
- GPs will be able to prescribe in circumstances of clinical need
- If symptoms persist, please book a GP appointment
There are lots of benefits to self-care:
- Expert Advice to Support You
Your local pharmacy can offer expert advice on a wide range of illnesses and you don’t need to make an appointment. Your consultation will be confidential and discreet.
There’s no need to wait for a GP appointment – a lot of pharmacies are open late and at the weekend.
Choosing to self-care can free up more GP time so they can spend more time with patients with more complex conditions.
Many of the items used to treat the conditions above are low cost and available from the pharmacist, and some are even available from your local shops and supermarkets. The money spent on those prescriptions, for minor illnesses, could be spent on treating more serious conditions.
There are a wide variety of helpful Self Care information and resources available which could help you to treat your illness without the need for an appointment:
Self Care Forum
The Self Care Forum is a charity which aims to further the reach of self care and embed it into everyday life. Self Care is the actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.