10 Nov 2014
Self-Care Week 2014 takes place from 17th - 23rd November. It aims to educate people on the benefits of looking after your own health, and to provide resources and solutions for common illnesses. The campaign is being run by the Self Care Forum
This year's theme is "Self-care for life – Be healthy this winter" and aims to raise awareness of how many common winter ailments do not require antibiotics, and can be best treated by visiting a pharmacy for advice.
Antibiotic resistance is becoming a problem in the UK. Nearly one in seven (15%) antibiotic treatments given out by GPs for common infections over the last two decades have failed.
Although an increased awareness of this is key, it can be a more difficult decision for Locum GPs. Where continuity with patients is not always a feasible option, there are lower thresholds for uncertainty and a greater need to avoid risk - Not dissimilar to that of out-of-hours and urgent care centre GPs.
I implore all GP locums to seriously think before they prescribe antibiotics - especially for upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats, sinusitis, coughs and simple otitis media. I ask you to raise the awareness of Self Care Week with your patients to empower and equip them to manage minor ailments over the coming winter months. There are several things that can be done to inspire confidence for self-treatment. The Self-Care forum itself provides a number of useful fact sheets which can be given to patients. Alongside this it is important to set patient expectations by clearly explaining how symptoms can be managed over the typical trajectory. This will ensure appropriate safety netting and aid in improving the understanding of the misuse of antibiotics and the consequences of growing ‘resistance’.
Visit the Self Care forum for patient resources and the RCGP online learning environment to learn more about the ‘ self-care aware consultation’:
Dr. Ishani Patel
MBBS BSc MRCGP DCH DRCOG
E-learning CPD Fellow, RCGP
Associate GP, Transforming Cancer Services Team, London
Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening (ACCS), Public Health England