This comprehensive review of the long term funding of the health service sets out the argument for increasing self-care as a means of achieving useful cost benefits for the health service both in terms of levels and effectiveness of resources, arising from more appropriate use of health and social care services.
The report commissioned by the Treasury reported that ‘Self-care is one of the best examples of how partnership between the public and the health service can work. The health service can support a proactive public in promoting self-care by, for example, helping people to empower themselves with appropriate information, skills and equipment or supporting people to take a more active role in the diagnosis and treatment of a condition followed by rehabilitation and maintenance of well being.
‘A comprehensive strategy on self-care would attempt to incorporate a wide range of approaches and models of self-care, including finding ways of providing funding, information, facilities, equipment and technology to support its development. Increased self-care, and the more aware and engaged public associated with it, could result in useful cost benefits for the health service both in terms of levels and effectiveness of resources, arising from more appropriate use of health and social care services.’
More self care was one of four key areas highlighted in the Interim Report as offering the greatest potential for productivity gains:
‘For example, the Interim Report identified research which suggested that visits to GPs could decline by over 40 per cent and outpatient visits by 17 per cent as a result of increased self care. The Review has attempted to account for these benefits by using Department of Health estimates based on the above research which suggest that, for every £100 spent on encouraging self-care, around £150 worth of benefits can be delivered in return.’