Independent GP and Social Entrepreneur | Founder & Director, Expert Self Care Ltd | Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in General Practice, University of Bristol
p.s.: Here's the link to the NHS Apps Library - https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/distract/
Hope it's okay to mention this here: in case anyone is interested, we've developed a self-harm support app called 'distrACT' which is NHS England Information Standard certified and listed on the new NHS Apps Library. It's free to download for anyone, has information, tips and advice for people who self-harm and signposts to trusted sources of support (including non-NHS, such as useful websites and national charities).
Great case study - and good to see that the app worked for you in your settings and the patients you selected (or self-selected). There's lots of potential for using apps to support self-care and self-management. While we have to be careful when recommending apps (as evidence for many of them is scarce), stories like your's are encouraging. Thanks for sharing!
There's nothing wrong with looking up health information online, as long as people know where to look - and only look at reliable information (ideally certified by NHSE Information Standard). Higher health literacy can lead to better self-care, and consultations with well-informed patients can be more productive - and even save time.
Agree, encouraging self-care and embedding health literacy into education have massive potential for reducing unnecessary workload for GP and A&E teams and reduce avoidable NHS costs.
I also think there's more we can do in GP surgeries to promote better self-care - and some practices have created imaginative and innovative campaigns.
Useful resources are available on the Self Care Forum website (www.selfcareforum.org/resources/). Anyone who wants to share ideas and good practice please let the Self Care Forum know today (http://www.selfcareforum.org/contact-us/).
Brilliant article! Many people assume students are a healthy population, and while that's true in many cases, they often face massive health issues - especially around mental health. We need to make sure that student health gets the support it needs at every college and university. This will not only benefit students' health and wellbeing, but may also positively affect their employability. Better support for students' health services is also likely to benefit the wider NHS, if problems can be identified and tackled earlier. Thank you PULSE and Dom for this article.
Dom's not only a nationally recognised leader, but also a wonderfully caring GP, passionate about improving young people's health at every level. What's more, she's a fab colleague and collaborator, and a shining example to all GPs - new and old!
NHS Choices has useful info on meningitis vaccination, and practices might find it helpful to spread the link to parents and students (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/men-acwy-vaccine.aspx) via their websites, twitter and facebook pages.
To regain trust with GPs, NICE could consider adopting a similar approach to that advocated by the NHS Information Standard (https://www.england.nhs.uk/tis/) for producers of health information aimed at the general public and patients, which is all about relevance, user involvement and transparency.
For NICE guidance this could mean:
1) GP REPRESENTATION: Involve an appropriate and representative group of GPs in guideline development, from start to finish
2) USER INVOLVEMENT: Test drafts of guidance *extensively* with grassroots GPs
3) TRANSPARENCY: Document all discussions, expert opinions and evidence reviews and make these available to anyone who wants to see them, to make the whole process of guideline development fully transparent
I believe this could help to minimise the risk that NICE guidance is misinterpreted at publication and would ensure that it's as useful as it can be.
Great article, and very useful advice. When producing any information for patients - whether video, leaflets, or blogs - it's also worth considering principles set out by the NHS Information Standard (http://www.england.nhs.uk/tis/) and the Patient Information Forum (http://www.pifonline.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/pif-resources/).
A quote from this paper: "An example of such is ‘Walking for Health’, a scheme originally set up by an Oxford General Practitioner in 2000. It is England's largest network of lay-led health group walks with 70 000 regular walkers, 10 000 volunteer walk leaders and approximately 3000 short walks offered every week." This GP is William Bird, who is hugely inspiring. Worth checking him and his work out at www.intelligenthealth.co.uk/.
Strange - we're encouraging lay people to self-care more (and rightly so), while the GMC asks medical professionals, who have had the training, to avoid doing so. It's time we have more specific and measured guidance by the GMC - guidance that encourages appropriate self care by doctors and discourages only those self treatments that really do require assessment by another practitioner.
Teams and organisations can thrive when they respect and tolerate different opinions. It makes me sad if people resign from the College (or from my practice) because they feel their concerns have not been handled well - regardless of the details.
In response to Dr Coales' BMA election, a (very) senior College figure posted on twitter in April: "But Una Coales third - heaven help us all!"
Is is possible that the pot is calling the kettle black?
We should embrace negative comments - they can be a great opportunity to improve the quality of care we provide.
If negative comments are made online, then a quick public response and then taking the issue private is often a good first step. Saying "I'm sorry about your experience" is not an admission of guilt and can go a long way to make a patient feel. It also diffuses the situation.
By genuinely trying to fix any problems, or explaining why they can't be fixed, can turn people who complain into new supporters. It can be helpful to consider responding with surprise and delight, rather than acting defensively. Finding out why the patient complains is key.
Complaints are unavoidable and none of us are perfect. But by reacting quickly, genuinely and effectively, we not only show the patient who complains that we care, but also our other patients and the wider community. That is, assuming we do care.