Nurses can play a pivotal role in encouraging patients to start taking control of their own health and, as a result, safeguard the NHS for future generations, according to a group of primary care clinicians.
The Self Care Forum, an expert group of nurses and GPs, warned that patients need to take more responsibility for their own care to ease the financial strain on services, noting that long term conditions pose the “greatest burden on the NHS” budget.
It argues that unless primary care practitioners empower patients to self care, the NHS will not be sustainable for future generations
The forum, which was formed in 2011, has members from a range of organisations including the NHS Alliance, Royal College of Nursing and the National Association of Primary Care.
The forum noted that long term conditions were a “key area where nurses can be instrumental in promoting self care”.
Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “Nurses are leading the way in empowering people to take care of themselves.
“We want to move towards a situation where patients know how to manage common ailments and their conditions and know what help is available when it is needed, so that expert health staff are able to support those in the greatest need.”
Sara Richards, a specialist primary care nurse with Slough Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “Patients only see a nurse or GP for perhaps six hours a year and the rest of the time they’re self caring.
“Not only does it boost patients’ self-esteem to be in control of their condition, but it also improves their health if they manage their long-term conditions well.”
The pack includes a set of minor ailments factsheets designed to give patients confidence in managing common conditions for themselves.
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