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Self-care for life! That’s the message from NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commission Group (CCG) ahead of this year’s national self-care week.

The week, which runs from 16-22 November 2015, focuses on supporting people to better look after their own health, as well as their family’s health.

Self-care means keeping fit and healthy, as well as knowing how to take medicines, treat minor ailments and seeking help when needed.

This not only benefits individuals by improving their physical and mental wellbeing, but also health services as greater demands are placed on them.

NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG’s clinical chief officer, and Thornton GP, Dr Tony Naughton said: “All NHS organisations are facing some really significant challenges, which include people living longer with complex health conditions, patients constantly expecting better services and rising costs.

“Our aim is to create a health service that supports people to be as fit and well as possible – but we can’t do this on our own, we need people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. That’s why we’re asking people to “self-care for life”, throughout the whole of their lives.”

Here are some simple steps to self-care for life and help to prevent avoidable conditions:

  • Move more – you don’t even have to join a gym, just walk the dog, leave the car at home, ignore the bus, take the stairs, dance around the kitchen table or go for a walk.
  • Stop smoking – one of the best things you can do for your health is to stop smoking.  Ask your local pharmacist about stop smoking services.
  • Sleep – a good night’s sleep is essential to good physical and mental health so don’t burn the candle at both ends, make sure you get at least seven hours sleep a night.
  • Eat well – it is vitally important that we get the nutrients we need and avoid excessive amounts of salt, fat and sugar.
  • Relax – we have such busy lives that we sometimes forget to take time out to relax, but it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet – keeping stock of commonly need medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen is essential, especially if you have children.
  • Manage common ailments yourself – don’t go to A&E unless you really need to, consider calling NHS 111 or speaking to a pharmacist, if you have an illness that won’t go away speak to your GP.

In the past 12 months, on average around 400 people living in Fylde and Wyre attended Blackpool Victoria Hospital A&E department each month who didn’t require any follow up treatment, having received no significant treatment whilst in A&E.

Dr Naughton added: “Most people are very capable of looking after themselves most of the time, self-treating when it’s safe and knowing where and when to seek help when it’s needed.

“Before you visit A&E remember what it’s there for – emergencies and life threatening illnesses only – colds, coughs, sore throats etc. can be treated at home or with the help of a pharmacist.”

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  • NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services in the area to meet patients’ needs. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
  • Led by family doctors (GPs), the CCG currently serves a population of 152,000 people across approximately 320 sq km of coast and countryside. The majority live in the urban towns of Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Lytham St Annes, but a significant proportion live in rural villages.
  • The CCG receives a set amount of money from the government – around £200million in 2014/15 – and is committed to spending this wisely for the benefit of local people.
  • Giving you more choice is a priority of the modern NHS. More information is available at fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/choice
  • The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient: nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/NHSConstitution/Pages/Overview.aspx
  • There are many ways to get involved in health service developments, including joining our Influence membership scheme or your practice’s patient participation group.