Making sure we have great health services available for everyone who needs them is not just the responsibility of the NHS, patients also need to look after themselves to ensure they live longer, healthier lives and don’t need to use NHS services unnecessarily. This means services are more readily available to the people who need them the most.
We are commissioning a range of services to help people look after their own health. One of these is the X-PERT programme for diabetes. If you live in Waltham Forest, have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and are keen to find out what you can do to manage it, then the X-PERT course could be for you. You can find out more about X-PERT here. Another key piece of work to help people look after their own health is through commissioning Personal Health Budgets, which allow people to manage their care in a way that suits them.
Some upcoming projects in this area include social prescribing, where GPs and other health professionals can prescribe non-traditional services, such as gym classes or dance lessons; and developing an 'e-marketplace', where people in Waltham Forest can find local healthcare information all in one place, carry out their own assessments of their health and self-refer for some services.
If you would like to do more to look after your own health, then here are three easy steps you can take.
Read up on self-care
The self-care forum provides information about what you can do to help yourself on a range of conditions. The fact sheets cover low back pain, eczema, heartburn and indigestion, fever in children, constipation, headache and migraine, coughs, acne, sprains and strains, sore throat, otitis media, common cold and sinusitis.
Ask your pharmacist
If you need expert advice on a minor illness, consider speaking to your pharmacist. Pharmacists can offer advice and medicines to treat common complaints like coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets, cuts and grazes. Pharmacists also provide a range of other services, including stopping smoking; seasonal flu vaccines; pregnancy testing; chlamydia screening; and emergency contraception.
Stock up your medicine cabinet
A well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you deal with minor accidents and illnesses at home. It’s a good idea to have the following products on-hand:
- Paracetamol and aspirin, and equivalent syrups (such as Calpol) for children
- Mild laxatives to relieve constipation
- Oral rehydration salts for diarrhoea or vomiting
- Indigestion treatment
- Travel sickness tablets
- Tweezers and sharp scissors to remove splinters or cut bandages
- A thermometer to check for fever
- Eyewash solution to help wash out grit or dirt in the eyes
- A range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings for minor cuts, sprains and bruises