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How can we all reap the benefits of self care?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Care and support, Communities, Events, Public health

“We are at the tipping point of a cultural change towards self-care as a way of life and work”, says Dr Pete Smith of the Self Care Forum, “but for change to happen we must work collaboratively with each other and with people and patients.”

Pete Smith: '[Self care] is about supportive, collaborative conversations with clear and consistent messages.'
Pete Smith: '[Self care] is about supportive, collaborative conversations with clear and consistent messages.'
To share ways in which you can encourage this cultural shift in your organisation, the Self Care Forum is inviting professionals working in health, local government and public health to attend this year’s Annual Self Care Conference on 26 September in London.

Amongst the speakers, delegates will hear from Public Health England’s Chief Executive Duncan Selbie. Duncan will share details of the national support for self-care, including how STP’s (sustainability and transformation plans) can incorporate self-care to help deliver better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency.

Delegates will also receive insights from self-care model leads from around the country who have successfully implemented programmes and strategies to help empower and engage people. They will also explain how this has helped them to achieve their organisational goals. This will include a large, integrated programme across health and wellbeing board areas.

self_care_forum.width-500The conference theme is ‘understanding self-care’, with a health literacy focus. Sixty per cent of working age adults in England find health information too complex to digest and expert patient programmes have had to be introduced to give adults a basic understanding of how to interface with health services.

Without good levels of health literacy people are unable to process and understand simple health information and make appropriate decisions. As a consequence, people are disempowered when it comes to looking after their health and accessing health services in a timely and appropriate way.

This disempowerment is accelerating the problem of demand in the health service. Sir Derek Wanless addressed the 2002 Self Care Conference, presenting his ‘fully engaged’ vision for a sustainable NHS. The Self Care Forum has continued to promote that vision.

The Five Year Forward View rekindled the NHS’s commitment to that engaged view and I am pleased to be a board member on NHS England’s Self Care Programme. We look forward to hearing from the Programme’s lead and Director of Patient and Public Participation and Insight, Anu Singh, at the Self Care Conference. We hope Anu will share details of this national programme and NHS England’s support for self-care with delegates.

The Self Care Forum` believes that collaboration is crucial in creating a cultural shift, and our conference will showcase inspiring visionaries who will present details of how their joint working in the local community has made a difference to the local health economy and to people’s health.

Essential to the cultural shift needed is the interaction we have as professionals and organisations with the public, clients and patients. Our forum is clear that self-care is not ‘no care’. It’s about supportive collaborative conversations with clear and consistent messages. These conversations are vital to engage people in their health, helping them towards better wellbeing for themselves and their loved ones.

A special people’s panel session with young people will help delegates engage with patients and the public about their health wants and needs and to understand what it takes to allow them to feel empowered and informed in their health decisions.

Ultimately, the aim for this year’s conference is to debate, engage, inspire and present practical solutions to help people gain a better understanding of what self-care means for a healthier life. We hope this will move us closer to that cultural shift where self-care becomes everyone’s lifelong habit.

Further information

Register now for the Self Care Conference and be part of the self-care movement.

For more details about the work of the Self Care Forum go to or contact



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  1. Comment by Carole Cliffe posted on

    As the mother of a young man with an acquired brain injury with no possible means of ever taking self responsibility i can from a place of experience already report how the medical profession and self proclaimed services are riding rough shod over the needs of the disabled with complex and severe needs the onus of responsibility can not be thrust back on carers already overwhelmed at the coal face there are no community services and when Cameron spouted we are in this together believe me we are roundly in it on our own indeed 27 years has taught me the cruelty of shallow rhetoric and being given hope where there actually is non so perhaps you can explain to me in an already failing service completely adverse to making reasonable adjustments whilst it drives and inflicts its own self serving solutions how those with no ability to self care do.........the safeguarding issues are already mind blowing without such a drive indeed you risk leaving the disabled community even more at risk so perhaps a spell out of the ivory towers and at the coal face would open a few eyes to the very real issues you agenda creates

  2. Comment by Trevor Fossey posted on

    The Power of Information initiative, published in June 2012, recognised that empowerment and transparency of personal Health & Social Care information and data for the patient is an essential element of engagement in self-care. Although GPs now facilitate online access for patients to their own data (well some GPs do!), the Social Care seem very reluctant to engage. All service users should have access to the data about themselves.
    The current message seems to be "we want you to self care and trust that you will benefit from doing so", but "we don't trust you with the records/data that we maintain about you"! Would be like saying to a car driver "you are responsible for the speed of the car you are driving", but the speedometer and the car dashboard will be hidden from you"?
    Engagement in self-care requires the culture within the Health and Social Care needs to improve, and respect patients enough to let them have online access to their own ((not redacted) data.
    Be open and honest with patients if the aim is to engage in their own health