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Unlocking Hidden Healthcare Capacity: Delivering a National Self Care Strategy

by Evoke Incisive Health for PAGB, the consumer healthcare association

Summary of work

Self-care empowers people to take control of their health and well-being. The pandemic highlighted the importance of self-care both to individuals and to the NHS as a whole, as people have been urged to treat their own symptoms wherever possible.

However, adoption of self-care advice, guidance and practices has been slow across the NHS. Prior to the pandemic, there were 18 million GP appointments and 3.7 million A&E visits per year that could have been avoided with self-care.

PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, recognised that England’s recovery from coronavirus created the conditions to embed self-care across the NHS and secure its benefits for patients and populations. But we knew we’d need to speak as part of a broad coalition to deliver national policy change.

The self-care clinical consensus group brought together leading organisations and voices from across the sector to develop a blueprint for a national self-care strategy and then advocate for its adoption. The blueprint has received substantial support from across the sector – including from the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, NHS Confederation and NHS Clinical Commissioners – and its primary recommendations have been welcomed by the NHS and Government.

Judges’ comments

The Unlocking Hidden Healthcare Capacity programme had great objectives, a sound strategy and it was very well thought out. It was good to see the flexibility and agility, switching strategy as the pandemic escalated, as well as what they achieved with so little budget. Good effectiveness and overachieved.