Both general practices and patients are keen to see a shift towards greater use of self-care to treat minor ailments with mild to moderate symptoms, according to research conducted on website doctors.net.uk.
The online poll found that eight out of 10 GPs now recommend self-care to patients, and nine out of 10 believe that self-care has an important role to play in general practice.
Supporters of the Self Care Campaign, which launched in March 2010 with the objective of ending “the culture of dependency in the NHS”, say the research suggests both patients and prescribers are “getting the message” about the benefits of people taking greater responsibility for their own health.
Dr Ian Banks, a part-time GP and President of the Men’s Health Forum said: “This research shows how far we’ve come in terms of self-care. The Self Care Campaign will continue to work to support these changing attitudes.
“We have an enormous opportunity to continue in the direction of travel set forward by the government and by the findings of this research: this will make a real change for patient empowerment.”
In June 2009, research conducted by TNS Kantar found that many GPs and nurse prescribers feared confrontation with patients if they failed to prescribe. It also found that patients were motivated to use prescriptions to treat minor ailments.
However, the research by Doctors.net.uk found that 23% of doctors said they were asked to recommend over-the-counter pain relief on a daily basis, and a further 32% said this happened multiple times per week.