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Self-care plea to younger people to reduce pressure on NHS services

New research has found that younger people are using A&E more to access health advice than older age groups.

The study carried out by UK Trade Association *PAGB which represents the Consumer Healthcare Industry, found that while 18-24 year olds are more likely than other age groups to use the Internet to search for health information, at 42 per cent they are the most regular users of accident and emergency departments compared with 20 per cent of people aged 55 and over.

Health commissioners in Nottinghamshire are now calling on people to observe a ten point check list they say can give them, and the people close to them, the best possible chance of staying well throughout the winter months, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and leading a healthier lifestyle.

The call was made as the Self Care Forum launches Self Care Week between 16 and 22 November; promoting improved awareness of services such as local pharmacies for minor ailments and advice about medications; flu vaccinations and improved management of long term conditions such as respiratory and heart conditions.

Younger people were also found to be less likely to use the pharmacy than older age groups – with just 52 per cent of 18-24 years olds using it for advice, compared with 65 per cent of those 55 years and older.

The research group; an official partner in the national Stay Well This Winter campaign found that 99 per cent of the population are able to get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by car and 96 per cent by walking or using public transport.

Ten points to staying well this winter

  •  Look out for family, friends and neighbours – particularly the frail and elderly;
  •  Get the free flu jab if you are eligible;
  •  Keep warm;
  • Use local pharmacies for advice about common winter ailments;
  •  Buy stocks of cold and flu remedies;
  • Don’t run out of prescription medicines;
  • Take regular medication for existing conditions;
  • Keep hydrated and eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular exercise
  •  If unwell, try your pharmacy, if you don;t improve  seek advice or treatment immediately from your GP – if your surgery is closed then call 111


Separate research by IMS Health has found that, in the UK there are 57 million GP consultations a year for minor ailments such as coughs and colds. This takes up an hour a day on average for every GP and costs the NHS £2 billion.

Dr Oliver, clinical lead at NNE CCG, said: “Remaining independent and healthy are virtues we should not take for granted. Self care can mean accessing health care advice about over the counter remedies for winter ailments from the local pharmacy, taking prescription medication to manage a long term condition or can simply mean leading a healthier lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. As demands on NHS services continue it is more important than ever that we are proactive with our own care needs in the future.”

 For more about self care week


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