The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health has called for a national self-care strategy, led by a minister, to tackle the number of people using A&E and GP resources for minor ailments.
The NHS has failed to respond to opportunities to manage rising demand against diminishing resource that a national self-care strategy would deliver, the group's report, published today, concluded. Group co-chair Bob Blackman MP said: "We all know A&E services should be reserved for life threatening emergencies, yet 3.7 million people a year are using A&E for issues that people could treat themselves at home or with advice from a pharmacist. Combined with around 52 million visits to GPs each year for self-treatable conditions, this inappropriate use of services has cost the NHS more than £10 billion over the last five years.
The report’s recommendations include:
Virendra Sharma MP, co-chair of the group, said: “The APPG found a number of local initiatives to promote health literacy and wellbeing which proved the economic, social and health benefits of a wider, national self care strategy. The Living Well programme in Penrith, Cornwall had delivered a 30 per cent reduction in hospital emergency admissions, and it is estimated that Lincolnshire County Council’s Local Area Co-ordinators’ programme, which intervenes before vulnerable people need to engage health and social care services, delivers a social return of £15 for every £1 invested. We would like examples of best practice like this to be shared and adopted across the country.”