Exclusive: GPs believe patients uninterested in self-care

GP survey reveals fears patients use self-care inappropriately GPs oppose wider OTC drug access.

Two-thirds of GPs think patients are not increasing their use of self-care, despite government efforts to encourage it, a GP survey shows.

The 2006 White Paper 'Our Health, Our Care, Our Say' aimed to put patients at the centre of their own care planning.

The DoH has since launched guidance setting out seven 'core principles' to support self-care, which cover improving access to education and tools to facilitate it.

Of 423 GPs who responded to the survey, 65 per cent did not think their patients were taking an increasing interest in self-care for minor conditions.

Of those who thought patients were becoming increasingly interested, only 27 per cent thought they were undertaking self-care appropriately.

'However many times we instruct patients, they want reassurance for minor illness, which they don't feel is minor,' one respondent said.

'Often patients do use over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, but abuse of these can mask or compound problems,' another commented.

Many respondents backed encouraging patients to manage minor ailments themselves, but thought patients needed to be better educated about medicines.

'A few well-educated patients are benefiting but the majority remain poorly informed and confused,' one GP wrote.

Respondents also supported a greater role for pharmacy and self-care in the management of minor conditions.

'We are on the right track with pharmacists getting more involved in medicines management and advice for minor ailments,' one GP argued.

'Minor ailment services in pharmacies should be standard,' another commented.

The survey also revealed that, while most GPs thought OTC access to medicines should stay as it is, 32 per cent believed access should be widened.

'Patients should be able to access medicines such as antibiotics and salbutamol inhalers, in consultation with the pharmacist,' one GP wrote.

'More prescription-only medicines should be available online where there are straightforward indications with little potential for harm,' another said.


Comment below and tell us what you think


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

BMA sign

GPs reject 'insulting' contract as BMA issues stark warning over 'death of general practice'

GP leaders have rejected 'insulting' proposed changes to the GP contract for 2023/23,...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Why underdoctored areas face a vicious cycle and how NHS plans could hit GP workload

The team discusses our new GP Insight tool and what it tells us about the GP workforce...

GP consultation

GP partners in decline in almost every part of England

GP partners are in decline in almost every part of England - with the proportion...

GP sign

Half of GPs have cut working hours to ease workload, poll shows

More than half of GPs have reduced their working hours because of intense workload...

Dr Ifthikar Lone

'Doctor Boro': GP who survived COVID-19 inspires folk song

A Middlesbrough GP who survived a severe COVID-19 infection early in the pandemic...

Patients in GP waiting room

Where in England are patients per GP rising fastest?

GPs are responsible for up to 13% more patients now than they were just two years...