Self Care Policy Proposal - your views welcome

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 15:00
Dr Paul Williams
I was recently pleased to be told by the people who monitor these things that quite a lot of you take the time to read my blog. Thank you for that. With that knowledge I thought it would be a good idea to use the blog as a way of telling you about a plan we have, in conjunction with all the other Norfolk CCGs, to introduce a policy on self-care. Yes that old chestnut again, if you haven’t already read it I refer you to my December 2016 blog in the archive on this website.
At the end of July West Norfolk CCG Governing Body will decide on the detail of the policy and we would like to hear your opinion before we do that. Below is a link to the draft proposal:
This particular policy is directed very much at encouraging the public to take back responsibility for their own health and source advice and medicines themselves through their community pharmacies, rather than expecting a doctor to prescribe for mild self-limiting illness. Around 20% of GP time and 40 % of their total consultations are used for minor ailment and common conditions at an estimated cost of £2billion per year to the NHS[i].
The Self Care Nation attitudes and behaviours in the UK report[ii] found that whilst 92% of people agree that it is important for people to take more responsibility for their own health to ease the burden on the NHS, 34% of these had visited a GP about a self-treatable condition in the last 12 months. 47% of the population would not visit their local pharmacist in the first instance for advice about self-treatable conditions, the main barrier being confidence with 1 in 5 believing that pharmacists were not as qualified as doctors and nurses. Interestingly 11% stated that they were entitled to free prescriptions so would never pay for over the counter medicines.
West Norfolk CCG spent around £800,000 on products that are available over the counter between April and November 2016.
You will see from the document that there are a significant number of areas that are affected by this policy but the ones that most people suffer from are hay fever, tablets for viral illness, headaches and other painful conditions and rubs for painful muscles and joints.
It is not a blanket ban on GPs prescribing for these conditions as there will always be people who have extreme symptoms of these conditions where a doctor would consider them exceptional to the policy. However, if this policy is adopted, then your GP will be redirecting you to the pharmacy for your medication rather than prescribing in most cases.
Please take the time to read the proposal and give us your views by e mailing to the address below under the subject line:      
Self-care policy feedback.
contact.wnccg [at]

[i] Proprietary Association of Great Britain. The campaign for real self-care. 2010.  Accessed 26/06/2014 


[ii] Proprietary Association of Great Britain. 2016. Self-Care Nation Attitude and behaviours in the UK Accesses 30/1/2017