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Outstanding CCG Award Winner Shares its Secrets for Achieving Excellence


Sandwell and Birmingham CCG, which serves a particularly deprived population in England, potentially saved 1,925 GP appointments for minor ailments as part of its activities during National Self Care Week last year. Compared to the previous year, the CCG saved around £300,000 prescribing costs on medication that can be bought over the counter.

It’s achievements helped to crown it the Outstanding CCG for Self Care Week 2019, jointly awarded by the Self Care Forum and NHS Clinical Commissioners. Its aim for Self Care Week was to help empower people in the population, support local clinicians to reduce prescribing levels of OTC medicines and so decrease GP appointments for minor conditions.

The CCG’s Medicines Quality Pharmacy Team led the programme, devising and implementing a huge range of innovative activities to engage its diverse community and so increase levels of self care in the local population.

The Team encouraged and supported surgeries to get involved, tailored messages to specific groups in the area engaging children, young people, worshippers, shoppers and fitness fanatics to name but a few.

You too can implement a similar programme using this case study by the CCG which reveals how it was done and how it overcame the barriers to help achieve its aims.

Consider Sponsoring Self Care Week 2020


The Self Care Forum is inviting organisations to sponsor Self Care Week 2020 with an exclusive Gold package in addition to attractive Silver and Bronze packages. Below is a taster of what’s on offer via the packages:

  • Daily self care tweets sent to 6370 followers
  • Logo placement on the Self Care Forum website, e-newsletters, posters, factsheets and twitter
  • Opportunities to engage with Self Care Forum Trustees in an “Ask the expert” style exchange
  • Have your blog on the website and shared via twitter and the e-newsletter
  • Engage with NHS England and Public Health England in a Twitterchat

Whilst the Gold package is exclusive, the Silver will be limited to two sponsors and the Bronze will have a maximum of three sponsors, so opportunities are on a first come, first served basis. Further information, including a comprehensive list of what’s on offer as well as reasons for supporting Self Care Week and the Self Care Forum, is available here.

For more information please email

Coronavirus Innovations Award


Every year the Self Care Forum awards prizes and commendations for exemplary self care innovation during Self Care Week. This year we will also celebrate good self care practice for coronavirus initiatives.  Winners will be given a £500 bursary and highlighted as a true innovator at a time when we need to find inspirational ways to support and protect people against one of the deadliest viruses this country has faced in decades. 

If you have implemented an inititive that has made a difference to individuals and the local community then we would like to hear from you.

This invitation is open to everyone, whether you are an individual, a community champion, an employer, GP practice, Local Authority, or services organisation (public, private, or charitable).  Closing date for admissions is 31st July 2020.

More information about the award can be found here and an application form is also available.

Report advocates better investment in schools to deliver health education


A report by the IPPR, a progressive policy think tank, has recommended Government invests in the capacity for schools to deliver health education as a core part of the school curriculum.

The Self Care Forum is wholly supportive of this and has been advocating for comprehensive health education to be taught in schools. We believe it should be compulsory to ensure schoolchildren are fully health literate and equipped with the knowledge needed to help them make positive decisions about their health and wellbeing as they grow into adults. And to understand when it’s necessary to seek intervention.

The IPPR report, entitled “Prevention in the age of information: Public education for better health” estimates that over half of the disease burden in England is preventable, with one in five deaths attributed to causes that could have been avoided and is calling on government to prioritise prevention.

The Self Care Forum is convinced that comprehensive health education in schools will help address this disease burden in future generations.

300,000 smokers may have quit due to fears over COVID-19


A survey by YouGov and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) reports that more than 300,000 smokers in the UK may have quit as evidence suggests smoking makes people more vulnerable to COVID-19.  A further 550,000 have tried to quit, while 2.4 million have cut down.

Dr Nick Hopkinson, the chairman of ASH and respiratory specialist at Imperial College London, said: “Smoking harms the immune system and our ability to fight off infections. Evidence is growing that smoking is associated with worse outcomes in those admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Quitting smoking also rapidly reduces people’s risk of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Those are bad whenever they happen, so preventing them is an end in itself and is especially important at a time like now when everyone is keen to stay out of hospital.”

Coronavirus Factsheets


Fusion Medical Animation – Unsplash

The Self Care Forum is currently crowdfunding to develop a series of fast-tracked self care aware Factsheets to help people understand how to avoid contracting coronavirus and what to do should they or their family members show signs or symptoms of the virus.

Uncertainty around COVID-19 has created an immediate need to equip the population and health professionals with reliable knowledge and awareness about this new virus.

The Self Care Forum is looking to develop ten self care aware Factsheets that can be used across the health and care system.  

The Factsheets will be evidence-based and peer-reviewed in line with our current suite of Factsheets which are a popular and valuable resource for health and care professionals to support the practice. They are also used independently for self care by the general public. They are succinct (no more than two sides) and easily accessible.

We would love to hear from you if you would find such Factsheets useful and would like to receive these once they are available or if you would like to donate towards producing this material. Please email.

Award winning pharmacist joins the Self Care Forum


Ade Williams, Bedminister Pharmacy

Superintendent pharmacist, Ade Williams from Bedminster Pharmacy, has joined the Self Care Forum’s Board.

Bedminister Pharmacy, which is a healthy living pharmacy, has won an impressive number of awards for its role in supporting the health of the local community with Ade receiving the UK Community Pharmacist of The Year Award in 2017.

Talking about his appointment to the board Ade said “I have been following the excellent work of the Self Care Forum for some years and as a new board member I am excited to start exploring how we can further progress the charity’s mission and make self care everyone’s everyday habit and culture.”

Self Care Forum chair, Helen Donovan added “Ade, with his rich knowledge of community and public health and his passion for helping people help themselves, will be a real asset to the Self Care Forum.”

CE Dr Knut Schroeder, who is a GP in Bristol and who knows Ade personally said “Ade’s infectious enthusiasm for finding ways of supporting people is inspiring; he and his pharmacy team do such invaluable work in the local community and we are delighted to have his talent on our Board.”

Self Care Week Award Winners Announced


The Self Care Forum is delighted to announce the awards for Self Care Week 2019, which was another remarkable year with more than 1000 organisations and individuals participating.

Self Care Forum Trustee Rhian Last, who was on the judging panel for the awards this year said “I was privileged to be invited to judge these prestigious awards which recognises the hard work and dedication of localities in their endeavours to support people to better look after their own health.”

Also new to the judging panel was Self Care Forum Trustee, Dr Michelle Howarth from Salford University, “judging these awards opened my eyes to the wonderfully collaborative nature of many local Self Care Week initiatives. It was heartening to see that Self Care Week continues to galvanise local people, who come together for a shared goal, to empower their local population to live their best self care life.”

Julie Wood, NHS Clinical Commissioners’ Chief Executive said “we are delighted to partner again with the Self Care Forum to support the hotly contested award for the CCG of the Year. Supporting and empowering people to self care is one of the core priorities for our members right across the country. The quality of nominees once again shows the range of impressive and important work that CCGs are undertaking in their local areas to get the word out about the importance of self care.”

Self Care Forum Chair Helen Donovan added “it is encouraging each year to see the rich diversity of organisations using Self Care Week as a vehicle to increase people’s knowledge and understanding of how to take care of their own health and their family’s health.  Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to all participants for supporting this initiative each year.”

Self Care Week Awards

Winner – Lancashire Libraries, Lancashire County Council

Outstanding Clinical Commissioning Group – Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG (Joint Self Care Forum/NHS Clinical Commissioners Award)

Innovation – Manchester Local Care Organisation/North Manchester Self -Care Forum

Highly Commended – Wakefield CCG

Self Care and COVID-19


By Helen Donovan, Self Care Forum Chair, Royal College of Nursing’s Professional Lead for Public Health and the James Bond of coronavirus

Don’t panic – it’s just more information on coronavirus! Hard not to quell the rising fear when faced with front page news, running television commentary, masks on public transport, hand gel being brandished like weapons, ‘the Wuhan shake’ in place of a hand shake making us all look as if we are doing a strange chicken dance.  Has the world gone mad with overreaction and the reality is that it is “no worse than flu” (which let’s face it can be rather grim) or is this a mass conspiracy theory where information and misinformation need spy level training?

What can you do and how can you look after yourself and those you love? Think of me as the James Bond of coronavirus if you will?

This useful infographic from the BBC gives simple self care steps for protecting yourself and what to do should you feel ill or think you are at risk.

Read more here.

For ways to self care during periods of enforced social isolation go to Chatter Pack which has a series of free “boredom busting” online links to keep you entertained for hours.

Crowdfunding for Self Care Week 2020


Over 1000 individuals and organisation participated in Self Care Week 2019, now the Self Care Forum is crowdfunding to ensure Self Care Week 2020 retains its national voice.

Every November, Self Care Week highlights the benefits of people self caring. In 2019, participation by local health organisations gave the popular event a potential reach of more than 31 million people who were encouraged to better look after their own health.

Chair Helen Donovan explains the Self Care Forum’s move to crowdfunding:  “As a charity we are having to look at ways to fundraise to continue to support local health organisations meet their self care strategies and embed self care into communities, families and generations.

“One of the ways we do that is through Self Care Week, which has gone from strength to strength since it was introduced some nine years ago.”

“Self care, social prescribing and personalised care are vital elements of the NHS Long Term Plan” adds Self Care Forum President, Dr Pete Smith. “Self Care Week provides local health organisations with the perfect tool to implement strategies expected by NHS England.”

Nathan Skelton, Senior Communications and Engagement Officer at NHS Fylde Coast CCGs agrees. Self Care Week has been a valuable tool in supporting our local self care strategy. It has been fundamental in creating a focus for the whole community to align behind. This has extended the overall impact within our population thanks to the Self Care Forum’s national coordination.”

Pharmacist Ade Williams from Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol says: “It is vital this national initiative continues to grow, since it provides the essential focus local organisations need to help support community health.”

The advantage of being part of a national health initiative such as Self Care Week is the power of many voices, according to Dr Knut Schroeder, GP and Self Care Forum Chief Executive.  “Self Care Week generates a wide-reaching message that resonates with many people since there is so much going on at the local, regional and national levels. It is this that effects the much-needed behaviour change that helps people self care.

“We want to keep our resources, such as our factsheets, posters and Self Care Week assets completely free, so we can help more local players help their own audiences. That’s why we are inviting those that use our resources, or benefit from them, to support us through affordable donations. No amount is too small to help us continue to help hundreds of organisations promote self care locally to tens of millions of people every November.”


Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact: Libby Whittaker on

Website: Twitter: @SelfCareForum