Self-care is a crucial element in achieving optimal health and well-being. It is for the individual to take responsibility of and be able to make informed choices about their health, care and wellbeing. This is attained by healthcare professionals, helping people by providing information, tools, support and care to allow people to stay well and use health services appropriately.
Pharmacies are the primary point of contact for the public in dealing with health-related issues, whether that be minor ailments or managing long-term conditions. They are a valuable source of information due to their convenient locations, because people can ask for advice without having to make an appointment, and because advice and support are often available during longer hours than is the case for other healthcare providers.
There are various community pharmacy services in place in supporting self-care; from providing healthy lifestyle advice, signposting and medicine use reviews to providing new medicine services to locally commissioned services like the Minor Ailment Service, Smoking Cessation and NHS Health Check.
All the above can ease the health burden on the NHS by freeing up GP appointments and reducing A&E attendances.
For more information and resources visit the Self Care Forum and Live Well - NHS Choices.