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Be Self-Care Aware: Stock-up your cupboards to take care of common illnesses

Posted on November 13, 2017

Passing through the GP surgery the other day I picked up an NHS leaflet about being self-care aware!

They suggest that you keep a selection of essential medication at home so you can treat common conditions as soon as they appear, rather than taking unnecessary trips to your GP or A&E over this winter period.

This strikes me as being a common sense proactive approach to treating common conditions for you and your family. By restocking your medicine cabinet goes some way to addressing the 3.7 million visits to A&E for self-treatable conditions at a cost of £290 million to the NHS (1). Or indeed the 57 million GP appointments each year for self-treatable conditions at a cost of £2 billion (2).

Recent headlines that patients are having their operations cancelled as hospitals struggle to cope with the all year around demand, with the NHS braced for the winter period but we can all take some easy steps to ease the pressures.

Did you know that 1.6 million people visiting a community pharmacy every day in England (3) and even more of us visiting a supermarket stocked with many non-prescription medications available, why don’t you include these items on your Winter shopping list?

Re-stocking your medicine cabinet for Self-care at home.

I’d also like to add to that list additional practical suggestions for keeping well this winter:

eat healthily, watch what you eat and drink, keep active, get plenty of sleep, and after you’ve been out and about wash your hands to avoid picking up winter cold and vomiting virus’s.

I hope you stay well this winter, without having to make a trip to your hard-pressed GP or A&E department.



  1. IMS Health study of self treatable conditions presenting in A&E units 2014. Data source: HES data. Health Episode Statistics.
  2. IMS Health. Minor ailment workload in general practice, 2007.
  3. NHS England. Improving Health and Patient Care through Community Pharmacy – Evidence Resource Pack, 2013.


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