Self Care Week 2018: Getting The Most Out Of Our NHS



Self Care Week, 12th-18th November, is an annual national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self-care across communities, families, and generations, run by the Self Care Forum. “Choose Self Care for Life” is the strapline for the awareness week this year and organisations are being encouraged to use Self-Care Week to help people choose self-care for a healthier and happier life; helping them to understand what they can do to better look after their own health and that of their family.


Self Care Week is a vital campaign that looks at health across the spectrum, from coughs, colds and flu to self-care for long term conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung conditions. Encouraging and supporting people to care for themselves, will not only improve their quality of life, but also help people to use NHS services even more effectively, particularly with the huge stress on the A&E services and GPs, especially in the winter months.

As winter approaches, the message from Self Care Week includes reminding people to ensure their medicine cabinet is well-stocked and also about how they can get help and advice on symptoms from their pharmacist, rather than visiting the GP or hospital unnecessarily.

There is also information available, both on the Self Care Forum and NHS websites, about how people can take steps to prevent avoidable conditions such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and lung conditions, such as COPD. It reminds them that information and advice is also available from their pharmacist to help them stop smoking, manage their weight, and choose healthy options to protect their physical health and mental wellbeing.  

“Choose Self Care for Life” also advises on long-term conditions, prompting patients to use their medications appropriately and to stay as healthy as they can. They are also advised to seek further support from their GP or nurse on how to manage their condition, or to join a local support group.

Whether the aim is to help people self-manage their long-term conditions, self-treat their common ailments, use common medication appropriately or generally lead a healthier life, activities during Self Care Week can help to invigorate self-care messages in communities and raise awareness of how people can ‘Self Care for Life’.

The Self Care Forum has been running its annual awareness campaign since 2011, with the ethos being to further the reach of self-care and have it embedded into everybody’s everyday life. It is made up of professionals from key organisations across primary care including: the NHS Alliance, Royal College of Nursing, National Association of Primary Care, National Association of Patient Participation, and the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB). Since the launch of the campaign, they have made huge progress in embedding self-care messages in primary care and are now focusing on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’, as stated on their website.

Self-care is so important, both mentally and physically, so take advice from pharmacists and doctors and look after yourself! Advice on self-care and how to get involved in Self Care Week is available on the website: Further advice can also be found on




Amy Daniels