Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Promoting self care to reduce unnecessary GP visits

Healthcare is changing dramatically and so are the needs of our patients. As such, GPs and our teams are changing the ways in which we are working, but we also need our patients to play their part.

There are many minor conditions and ailments that patients can treat themselves — or at least do not need to see a doctor about. Often they would be just as well served by seeing their local pharmacist, who do a fantastic job advising patients on the best way to treat a whole array of medical conditions.

Infective conjunctivitis, for example, is an unpleasant condition but, at a time when GPs are under considerable resource and workforce pressures, dealing with this is not a good use of our time.

We have produced a poster, which can be downloaded and printed by GP practices to display in their waiting rooms, pharmacists to display in their pharmacies, and teachers and childcare providers to display in their schools and nurseries. It gives parents advice on how to look after their child effectively without seeking medical advice. It also explains what they do not need to do, including making a GP appointment, requesting antibiotics, or take time off school, because these are against clinical guidance from Public Health England. As a result, we estimate up to 160,000 GP consultations are wasted every year.

Our initiative follows research published in the British Journal of General Practice, which found 86.7% of nursery schools in England, Scotland and Wales currently exclude children with conjunctivitis, and nearly half of those require a prescription for antibiotics. This flies in the face of the hard work we are doing across healthcare to curb growing resistance to antibiotics and the dangerous effect this is having on patients’ health globally.

It is essential we get the message out to patients that it is not always a doctor they need to see. There are increasing numbers of alternative healthcare professionals in the community — and sometimes it is not even necessary to see anyone or seek treatment, particularly antibiotics. Infective conjunctivitis is just one example of where self care is better, keeps our health service sustainable, and frees up GP appointments for patients who really need them.

Maureen Baker

Immediate past chair

Royal College of General Practitioners

 

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20201968

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Disease Management

    Disease Management

    Disease Management covers the diseases commonly encountered in primary care by system, with common therapeutic issues. Includes case studies and self-assessment sections.

    £52.00Buy now
  • Essentials of Nonprescription Medications and Devices

    Essentials of Nonprescription Medications and Devices

    Essentials of Nonprescription Medications and Devices provides a quick, comprehensive reference of products available for self-care.

    £32.00Buy now
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 2 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £250.00Buy now
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 1 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £130.00Buy now
  • Pharmacy and the US Health Care System

    Pharmacy and the US Health Care System

    A complete source of current information about the US health care system. Includes concise reports on trends, regulations, policy and finances.

    £48.00Buy now
  • Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice is a unique, practical guide for healthcare professionals or carers. Covers a range of non-medicinal products suitable for use at home.

    £21.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Site powered by Webvision