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Self-Care Pharmacy project

The Self-Care Pharmacy project is funded by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and aims to improve the knowledge and understanding of self-care for minor ailments through a health literacy approach.

Why is there a need for this project?

Almost one fifth (18%) of GP workload is for minor ailments that could have been alleviated through self-care costing the NHS over £1.9billion per year.  By reducing spend on treating minor conditions, the money saved in health and social care could potentially be used for other higher priority areas such as cancer or heart disease.   The project is part of a strategy from the Department of Health to put pharmacy first to support self-care for minor ailments as community pharmacies are ideally placed to support self-care. 

Why use a health literacy approach? 

The International Self-Care Foundation has created the  “seven pillars of self-care” framework.  The first of these pillars is health literacy,  to improve knowledge and understanding of self-care we must also improve health literacy.   Improving health literacy will give people the knowledge, understanding and skills to obtain, process and use health information.  It will also enable them to access care from the most appropriate care provider, for example, a person deciding to go to their local pharmacist for advice about a sore throat, cold or flu like symptoms rather than their GP.  Health literacy is recognised a key determinant of health,  the project fits with CDHN’s vision as improving health literacy will lead to improved health outcomes and the reduction of health inequalities

Who should get involved?

Everyone! We will need input from people in the community, voluntary and community organisations, as well as health and social care professionals. 

How do I get involved?

The project has three parts:

  1. A series of collaborative workshops in each of the five Health and Social Care Trust areas.  These were completed in May and June 2019.   
  2. Delivery of health literacy training to community leaders and to community groups. More information about the training is available here.
  3. design thinking project.   Design thinking is an approach to solving problems, which allows everybody engaged in the process to be a creative thinker. It is most useful when tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown – in this case, improving health literacy and increasing people’s capacity to self-care. Design thinking is a really exciting opportunity to get different health professionals and people from the community along with community, voluntary and statutory sector organisations in one room to come up with solutions. We will be delivering the design thinking projects in partnership with Work West.

A reference group has been established to advise and guide the work.  


To find out more about the project contact:

Helen McNamee, Project Manager

T: 028 3026 4606