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Health experts urge Derbyshire residents to 'self-care' during high pressure winter period

Derbyshrie's clinical commissioning groups have today launched a campaign aimed at getting people to treat minor ailments without visiting their GP, in order to ease pressure on services.

“It absolutely does not mean being on your own,” says Zafran Azam, a lead pharmacist for Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

“The NHS will always be there to support people when they need it. Self-care is about the things we can all do to better look after our everyday health and treating ourselves when we have what a GP or pharmacist would call ‘a minor condition’ such as a cold, cough, heartburn or indigestion.

"It might seem unbelievable to some, but in 2018 there are plenty of people who will wait in a busy A&E department not realising that a pharmacist could offer advice and treatment for their condition in minutes.”

Asked why he thinks that is, Mr Azam, explains:

“There is no simple answer to this question; but with approximately 57 million GP consultations each year involving minor ailments we were keen to understand. The CCG performed a survey to ask people their views; the results were really interesting with the main issues as:

  • ·Lack of confidence to self-care
  • ·A need for reassurance (in the past much emphasis was placed on encouraging people to visit their GP if feeling unwell)
  • ·Lack of understanding of conditions (e.g. what would constitute a ‘minor’ and ‘major’ illness)
  • ·People feeling entitled to free medicines
  • ·Loneliness

“I’d say the results of the survey echo my experience as a pharmacist. I’d agree many people seem to have lost confidence in their ability to treat themselves when they have a minor illness. Many people don’t realise pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals who provide advice about self-care and self-treatable conditions and can identify when symptoms need to be assessed by a doctor.”

Pharmacists are ready to offer advice on the most appropriate treatment for minor conditions such as:

  • Cold
  • Headaches
  • Cold sores
  • Head lice
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Cough
  • Insect bites
  • Dental pain
  • Migraines
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nappy rash
  • Dry eyes
  • Rashes
  • Dry skin
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Teething
  • Fever
  • Temperature
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Threadworm
  • Hay fever
  • Thrush

“The majority of pharmacies offer a private consultation room where they can offer confidential advice. There are over 200 pharmacies in Derbyshire, some of which have extended evening and weekend opening hours. 

“Another great thing to ask your pharmacist is advice on what medicines to stock up on to help you when you or your family and friends are feeling under the weather.  We recommend the below items as a start. Many everyday medicines can be bought at a low cost and there’s lots of advice about this available on various money saving websites. 

“It might seem like a lot to take in,” says Mr Azam, “however we’re here to do all we can to support the people of Derbyshire to manage their everyday health. In August we launched a campaign to help raise awareness of self-care and all the benefits that come with it. 

“As part of the campaign we published a guide which highlights some great resources and is now available in GP practices, pharmacies and other public places across Derbyshire. It’s available to download and has lots of great information on how to treat the conditions listed above.”

“While I’ve talked a lot about the things we can do to treat ourselves when we have a minor illness, it’s important to remember that self-care is as much about the small, everyday things we can do to keep healthy and happy."

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