Le Lézard
Classified in: Health, Science and technology, Covid-19 virus
Subject: SVY

GPs urge patients to self-care through pandemic restrictions to relieve pressure on NHS

LONDON, Nov. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --

GPs want Brits to practise self-care and are urging patients to only go to the doctor's office if absolutely necessary, Healthily findings reveal

The findings of a recent survey, commissioned by self-care platform Healthily, of 2,200 adults and 100 GPs from across the UK, show that over two-thirds (67%) of GPs want their patients to take greater responsibility for their own health and relieve pressure on the NHS.

The survey, carried out by Census Wide, found that 2 in 5 GPs (41%) would strongly encourage their patients to practise better self-care with 9 in 10 (95%) GPs reporting that they see minor illnesses/injuries that could be managed at home.

The common cold tops the list of conditions GPs are encouraging people to self-manage at 60% followed by cold sores (47%), insect bites (45%), simple sprains (45%) and dandruff (44%).

Self-care is any action an individual takes to support their own physical or mental health. Around 1 in 5 GP appointments are for minor ailments, including headaches, heartburn or a blocked nose, which people can treat themselves. Minor conditions are responsible for 57 million GP visits and 3.7 million A&E admissions every year, costing the NHS over £2 billion.

Over half (55%) of adults who responded to the survey said that they had been managing their health and wellbeing through self-care at home since the start of the pandemic.

The pandemic has sparked a self-care trend with 2 in 5 (40%) of GPs agreeing that COVID-19 has shown that people have an 'innate sense' of when they genuinely need face-to-face medical treatment.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of GPs also agree that since the onset of the pandemic, the general public are taking more responsibility for their own health.

Commenting on the findings Professor Maureen Baker CBE, former chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Chief Medical Officer at Healthily said:

"We must ensure that we are doing our best to relieve pressure on GPs and NHS staff during this difficult time."

"The pandemic has had a huge impact on society, but it has also helped the public to embrace self-care, that is a positive thing when there are so many things people can manage themselves," she added.

Previous research by Healthily has shown that instead of accessing NHS services during the lockdown, more than 1 in 10 (12%) have turned to healthcare apps or websites for advice and support since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK.

Of those, 4 in 10 (41%) reported doing so in order to relieve pressure on the NHS. Almost a fifth of all respondents (17%) self-treated an illness they would usually contact a clinician for, such as headaches, an upset stomach, or splinters.

56% of adults say that they associate someone who lives healthily with someone who manages their own health. Healthily - the world's first medically approved self-care platform - is this month launching its #LiveHealthily campaign encouraging Brits to take control over their health and helps users manage 100's of conditions and track progress.

Mum of four, Naomi Ellard, 29, from Suffolk, has been using the Healthily app for several weeks.

"I'm a busy mum and thought that rather than using the Healthily app for a big lifestyle and health change I would use it to try and incorporate gradual changes to how I look after myself through diet and healthier living," explained Ellard.

"When you use the app, and when you've read the advice, you start to subconsciously do some of the things you're advised to do anyway, so for example I'm trying to make sure I've eaten a piece of fruit by 10am each day and checking through the app now and then jogs my memory," she added.

She said that if, for example, she has been "feeling sluggish" she will ask herself why that might be and then look through the Healthily app to remind herself what changes to make to better take care of herself.

"I'm trying to make small changes slowly, it might take longer to notice the difference, but I think with the help of the app I'll be able to adopt them for the longer term," she said.

Coronavirus has accelerated the importance of self-care and Healthily have also launched a new self-care quiz where people can learn the facts and discover whether they are a self-care starter or self-care hero.

Notes to editors:

About the Census Wide survey commissioned by Healthily:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Census Wide. Total sample size was 2,200 adults and 100 GPs Fieldwork was undertaken in October 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighed and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Healthily:

Healthily is the world's first medically approved self-care platform designed around you. Combining responsive AI with trusted insights and tools, we match your personal needs to the latest information from doctors and healthcare specialists. So you can understand your health and take the next step with confidence, wherever you are. Used by millions of people all over the world, Healthily's pioneering approach to online clinical safety has attracted the support of leading investors and health organisations.

Naomi Ellard ? UK blogger and Instagram Influencer (@life_at_no47)
Self-care Quiz: https://www.livehealthily.com/coronavirus/self-care-during-covid-19 
Website: www.livehealthily.com 
Twitter: @thehealthilyapp 

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