The latest news from the Self Care Forum and its member organisations:

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Care: New Corporate Sponsor


The Self Care Forum is excited to be working with Care as part of its activities for National Self Care Week 2020, to raise awareness about how to self care for self treatable conditions.

Speaking about the partnership, Emma Boyle, Care Brand Manager said “We are delighted to be supporting the UK’s national Self Care Week 2020 and its important awareness campaign to embed self care into everyday life across communities and families.

“The support and emphasis Self Care Week provides to healthcare professionals and organisations up and down the country to promote the ‘Live Self Care for Life’ message is essential – for our future health as a nation as well as helping to preserve the services of the NHS for generations to come.

“Care has championed the self care ethos for almost 30 years, empowering people to self-treat their minor health concerns by offering an extensive range of medicine cabinet essentials while also championing pharmacy as the go-to for advice and over-the-counter remedies.

“The self care ethos now resonates more than ever and Care is extremely proud to be part of a campaign which not only empowers people to take care of themselves but also puts long-term preventative health in the spotlight.”

Pandemic may have changed the way people use the NHS in future


Research commissioned by the trade association for manufacturers of OTC medicines, PAGB suggests that people’s use of the NHS may change following the COVID19 pandemic.

The poll found that A&E and GP services are less likely to be the first port of call for those with self-treatable conditions in future while more people will choose to care for themselves if they can.

More than 2,000 adults took part in the survey which found that among those who previously sought a GP appointment as their first option, more than half (51%) said they were less likely to do so after the pandemic.

Further highlights from the poll:

  • Almost seven out of ten respondents (69%) who might not have considered self care as their first option before the pandemic said they were more likely to likely to do so in future;
  • Almost one in three people (31%) who would not have visited a pharmacy for advice before seeking help elsewhere said they were more likely to do so following the pandemic;
  • Almost one in three people (32%) said the pandemic had changed their attitude to the way they access healthcare services;
  • 77% agreed the pandemic should change the way we think about using GP appointments and A&E services;
  • 86% agreed that A&E and GP appointments should be used only when absolutely essential.

Limit TV time to 2 hours says researchers


According to a study by scientists at Glasgow University restricting TV watching time for adults could increase longevity. Analysis of information from 500,000 Britons aged from 37 to 73 over seven years showed that 6 per cent of all-deaths and 8 per cent of cardiovascular related deaths could be associated with too much TV watching. The study findings pointed to too much time spent watching TV resulting in less exercise and poor diet.

Dr Hamish Foster from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, who led the study, said: “This study adds more weight to the evidence that more time spent watching TV is likely to be detrimental to health.

“Our study suggests limiting TV time could delay or prevent a lot of adverse health. However, there is still more work to be done before we can make firm TV time recommendations. TV time is just one of a number of potentially sedentary behaviours, which also includes screen time watching videos on your phone, which may all contribute to adverse health outcomes. Also, there are many other contributory factors, such as unhealthy snacking and lower socioeconomic status, that are also strongly associated with both TV time and poor health outcomes. Further research is needed to understand all these factors and inform future advice and guidelines.”

Study: ‘Understanding how much TV is too much: A non-linear analysis of the association between television viewing time and adverse health outcomes’ is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to health needs


Lancashire Libraries – winners of Self Care Week 2019 – explained that because communities often have a diversely rich population “one size doesn’t fit all” when it comes to people’s health and wellbeing needs.

Which is why careful planning and thought was put into its Self Care Week initiative ensuring there was a range of activities available at their 9 Wellbeing Festivals in libraries across Lancashire. Almost 500 people attended the events, helping to engage and empower the population and inform them of available services in the area.

The organiser, Amy Niven, Bibliotherapy Officer from Lancashire County Council provided her top tip for others planning their Self Care Week promotions “have a look at what you’re already doing, what you have access to and any connections you might already have. You might find that a lot of what you already do encourages people to self care, you just need to shout about it!”

Further tips about Lancashire Libraries’ award winning Self Care Week initiative is available here. Self Care Week resources are available here.

A word from our President on International Self Care Day (24/7)


The Self Care Forum is delighted to be part of International; Self Care Day at the start of the WHO Month of Self Care. Never has self care been more vital than during the time of coronavirus. The vast bulk of the international response has been correctly; to advise and mandate good self care. Be it social distancing, good hand sanitation or preventing the underlying conditions leading to increased vulnerability, self care is now writ large throughout the world and will underpin safety of individuals and populations for the months and years to come.

The Self Care Forum developed an award for innovations in individual, community, care and health settings in response to the epidemic and will announce the winner soon. The response has been extensive demonstrating how self care will underpin the new normal, whether it be supporting isolated people, reducing the mental health risks in young people, supporting management of long term conditions and providing resources to the locked down population to manage themselves and their families’ health and wellbeing, innovation in self care is ensuring that people’s worlds can be improved in these difficult times.

New Board Member - Dr Chee Yeen Fung


We are proud to announce our new board member, Dr Chee Yeen Fung. Chee Yeen who is a London-based GP, founder of the “Dr. Me Project” and recipient of the RCGP GP Speciality Trainee Award 2019 and ASME New Leaders Award 2020.

Welcoming her to the board, chair, Helen Donovan said ” we are delighted to have Chee Yeen join our board and are excited to work with her, particularly to help realise our aims of ensuring self care education is taught in schools to equip children with life-long learning skills and for health professional students to be fully trained in conducting self care aware consultations to empower their patients during each and every interaction.”

Schoolchildren taught to self care


A study of more than 200 schoolchildren showed that Dr. Me. – a self care presentation designed by GP Dr Chee Yeen to empower schoolchildren – was shown to significantly improve their understanding of how to self care minor conditions.

The children attended workshops covering vomiting and diarrhoea; sore throat and fever; and minor head injuries. In the study, six case scenarios were asked at the beginning and end of the session, and children decided whether to stay home, visit the GP or attend A&E.

Feedback questionnaires gauged confidence in self care and interest in medical careers. In the diarrhoea and vomiting, and sore throat and fever case scenarios the children were significantly better able to determine whether they should stay at home, visit the GP or go to A&E.

There were significant improvement in correct answers overall, in keeping with increased confidence and findings show self care education can help in managing self-limiting conditions and can be the first step towards reducing GP and A&E attendances in future.

The study also highlights the possibility of children passing on their learnings to family members. It makes the point that with increasing demand on NHS services, empowering children to better look after their own health provides them with life-long learning and can help with future sustainability of the NHS.

More information is available here.

We’re living longer, but in ill health


According to research in Population Studies – A journal of demography, we are living longer but not necessarily in good health.

The study, which looked at generational health of working aged people, and suggests that younger generations can no longer expect to lead healthier lives than their ancestors. People in England in their forties and fifties are, on average, in significantly worse physical shape than those now in their sixties and seventies were at the same age.

Study co-author, George Ploubidis, professor of population health and statistics at University College London said: “Earlier in the 20th century a rise in life expectancy went hand in hand with an increase in healthy lifespan — younger generations were living longer, healthier lives. It appears that, for those generations born between 1945 and 1980, this trend has stalled. Those born later are expected to live longer on average, but with more years of ill health.”

Ultimately, this worrying health trend points to a greater demand for public healthcare at younger ages. 

Read more about the research here.

Pandemics and the vital role of self care


SCF Chair, Helen Donovan and SCF CE Dr Knut Schroeder

In an article written for the Department of Health, Helen Donovan, Royal College of Nursing and Chair of the Self Care Forum and Dr Knut Schroeder, GP and CE of the Self Care Forum explain why self care is at the heart of our response to the coronavirus.

As the UK’s coronavirus lockdown continues to ease, it remains just as important to protect ourselves and others from the risk of infection. More broadly, we should be doing all we can to maintain and sustain our physical and mental wellbeing.

Guarding against complacency

Self care is at the heart of how individuals, organisations and communities are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The advice to ‘stay home, save the NHS and save lives’ has been a powerful message, which also represents an opportunity for us all to embrace the notion of self care, not just for the duration of this pandemic, but beyond.

Simple advice, including effective hand washing, staying at home and socially distancing have undoubtedly helped to suppress the virus, empower communities and improve the environment around us.

However, an unintended side effect has meant some people have not been seeking help and advice early enough for other health issues. Self care does not mean no care!

That said, we have seen widespread positive behaviour change…

New Coronavirus Support App


The Self Care Forum is proud to have partnered with award-winning health app specialist Expert Self Care (ESc) and others to develop a new app which helps people navigate the extensive information that’s available about COVID19.   

The ‘Coronavirus Support App (UK)’, which is free to download and available for both android and Apple devices, has been created by ESc to offer people in the UK easy quick access to evidence-informed information about coronavirus and COVID-19 all in one place.  

It signposts to reliable, trusted sources of information and answers key questions like who is at risk, what the symptoms are and how to stay healthy by practising self care; and offers advice for a range of situations, including for anyone feeling anxious, at risk of domestic violence and abuse, or in need of medical treatment.

ESc is led by Dr Knut Schroeder, a practising GP, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol and CE of the Self Care Forum said “In the current crisis, reliable information is more important than ever. We designed this app to bring together all the best sources of information on coronavirus. False information leads to rumours and myths that can hamper public health efforts, which may result in preventable disease and deaths.

“We haven’t received any external funding for this app and it’s available to download for free, so we are grateful to the team of volunteers who have made this app possible. They have been amazing during a very difficult time for everyone.”

Local NHS organisations are able to customise the app free of charge by adding helpful links for their local population and are invited to get in touch with the App Production Lead for further information.