GPs urge Brits to practice self-care to relieve workload ahead of vaccine roll-out

The findings of a recent survey, commissioned by self-care platform Healthily, of 2,200 adults and 100 GPs from across the UK, show that over two-thirds (67%) of GPs want their patients to take greater responsibility for their own health and relieve pressure on the NHS.

The survey, carried out by Census Wide, found that 2 in 5 GPs (41%) would strongly encourage their patients to practise better self-care with 9 in 10 (95%) GPs reporting that they see minor illnesses that could be managed at home.

The common cold tops the list of conditions GPs are encouraging people to self-manage at 60% followed by cold sores (47%), insect bites (45%), simple sprains (45%) and dandruff (44%).

WHY IT MATTERS

Self-care is any action an individual takes to support their own physical or mental health. Around 1 in 5 GP appointments are for minor ailments, including headaches, heartburn or a blocked nose, which people can treat themselves. Minor conditions are responsible for 57 million GP visits and 3.7 million A&E admissions every year, costing the NHS over £2 billion.

Over half (55%) of adults who responded to the survey said that they had been managing their health and wellbeing through self-care at home since the start of the pandemic.

The pandemic has sparked a self-care trend with 2 in 5 (40%) of GPs agreeing that COVID-19 has shown that people have an ‘innate sense’ of when they genuinely need face-to-face medical treatment.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of GPs also agree that since the onset of the pandemic, the general public are taking more responsibility for their own health.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The pandemic-era burnout has seen healthcare professionals grapple with alert and alarm fatigue, burdensome documentation and EHR usability, with 61% of nurses experiencing emotional and physical fatigue.

ON THE RECORD  

Professor Maureen Baker CBE, former chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Chief Medical Officer at Healthily said: “We must ensure that we are doing our best to relieve pressure on GPs and NHS staff during this difficult time.”

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on society, but it has also helped the public to embrace self-care, that is a positive thing when there are so many things people can manage themselves,” she added.

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