The ‘You and Your GP Practice’ campaign has been put together by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups, to help patients get the care they need as quickly as possible. Initially the campaign will focus on self-care and features a series of seven animations advising people how to look after certain minor ailments and when to seek medical advice:
- Blocked sinuses
- Vomiting bug
- Coughs Colds and flu
- Chest infection
- Sore throat
- Back pain
Self-care describes how you can look after your own health, including what to do to treat minor conditions, avoiding the need to attend a GP practice. It encompasses looking after minor illnesses at home, as well as self-management of long-term conditions and prevention of ill health.
A survey of local patients carried out by the CCGs earlier this year, showed that patients would like more support in being able to look after their own health. Only 50% of respondents across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland felt they had the confidence to self-care and 32% said they had less self-care information than they need.
The role of GP practices is to look after all aspects of people’s health, either by providing that care themselves and arranging specialist care where needed. They also have a role to play in supporting patients and building their confidence to look after their own health, where appropriate.
“If people are generally in good health, there is no reason why they can’t look after minor illnesses themselves. In most cases the illness will get better by itself and so an appointment with their GP practice isn’t usually required. This campaign has been developed to build patients’ knowledge and confidence to look after minor illnesses themselves.”
Dr Nil Sanganee, a GP in Ashby
“If people have any long-term conditions we would generally advise them to still contact their GP practice for advice if they develop a minor illness. This doesn’t need to be with a GP. There are a wide range of health professionals in practices nowadays such as advanced nurse practitioners, physician associates or clinical pharmacists, who are well qualified to advise patients and are often specialists in managing long term conditions. Your practice will be able to advise who will be best to see.”
Dr Sulaxni Nainani, a GP in Leicester
You can also get fast and convenient advice about treating minor ailments at your local pharmacy. They are very knowledgeable about which medicines are best and whether they will conflict with any existing medication you are taking. If they think you need an appointment at your GP practice, they will tell you. Pharmacies are often open in the evenings and weekends.
The relationship people have with their GP practice is constantly changing to adapt to growing and ageing populations, increased numbers of people with long term conditions, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a relationship that will continue to evolve, which can make it confusing for patients to work out how to get the care they need from their practice.
You and Your GP Practice is designed to support you with this. The first aspect of the campaign to be introduced is self-care, with further themes being introduced in the coming weeks.