Leeds City Council and local NHS get behind Self Care Week

Published : 09/11/2012 00:00

Leeds City Council and local NHS get behind Self Care Week

Issued by the Communications Team at NHS Leeds on behalf of Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Leeds City Council

‘Self care for life – growing older healthily’

Leeds City Council and the NHS in Leeds have come together to raise awareness of Self Care Week 2012 which is taking place from 12 - 18 November.

Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds are using the national awareness campaign to promote the benefits of self care for people living in the city.

The awareness is an opportunity to highlight how health and social care staff are working together more closely to support people in Leeds.  Early evidence shows that people are already experiencing positive health benefits, are more confident in identifying the support they need and using self care more often.

Across Leeds staff have been working with patient and community groups and neighbourhood networks. One of the new developments is the ability to provide ‘social prescriptions’.  This means people are prescribed company and contact with others often through neighbourhood groups or lunch clubs, to improve their quality of life.  Contact through these groups also means people can meet others who may have similar health issues and to learn from and support each other which also enhances how they can care for themselves.

There will be a number of information stalls across Leeds throughout the week for people to find out more, as follows:

• Wednesday, 14 November, 9 - 11am, Chapeltown Health Centre, Spencer Place, LS7 4BB
• Wednesday 14 November, 10am -12noon, Beeston Health Centre, 123 Cemetery Road, LS11 8LH
• Friday 16 November, 2 - 4 pm, Meanwood Health Centre, 548 Meanwood Road, LS6 4JN
• Friday 16 November, 2 - 4pm, Armley Moor Health Centre, 95 Town Street, LS12 3HD

Rob Webster, chief executive for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said:
“Our staff want to do more for our patients, our patients tell us they want to help themselves too. We’re working really hard to make this a reality. Self Care Week raises the profile of an issue that is a significant part of the future of care in Leeds.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive board member responsible for adult social care commented:
"People are living for longer, which is great news. However this inevitably means that more and more people are living into old age with a long-term health condition. 

"We need to make sure that the necessary support and information is available to people so that they can live comfortably whilst dealing with any such condition. That is what self care or self management is all about.  It means people having the confidence and support that they need to feel in control and look after themselves properly whilst retaining their independence for as long as possible.

“The council and the NHS are working more closely together than ever to offer a combined package of care, support and lifestyle advice to residents to keep them healthier and independent for longer.”

Kevin Howells, acting chief executive for NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, added:
“It is really important that people have the confidence to look after themselves yet still be able to access services when they really need them. By reducing the number of unnecessary trips to the GP or A&E, through improved self care, we can ensure that these services are available for people when they need them the most. I hope that Self Care Week will encourage other people who would be tempted to use NHS services for minor ailments to consider self care and perhaps make greater use of other resources such as pharmacies.”

The Leeds Health and Social Care Transformation Programme involves Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group, Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group, Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds City Council. For further information on the Leeds Integrated Health and Social Care Programme please visit www.leeds.gov.uk/transform.

To find out more about how you access advice and support to help you self care and only use NHS services when you need them please visit: www.leeds.nhs.uk/choosewell, for more information on how local people have benefited from self care visit www.leeds.gov.uk/selfcare.  


Members of the media are invited to attend event on Thursday 15 November from 10am at Elland Road, Leeds.  The event will focus on the need for self management, local initiatives and options for people in Leeds as well as workshops to develop a network of sustainable and accessible self-management opportunities.

Local people who have used the self management approach, as part of the Leeds Integrated Health and Social Care Programme, are available for interview please contact Shak Rafiq on 0113 305 7496.

Case study: Michelle has a progressive neurological condition and is supported by health and
social care services.

“I need support with basic things like going to bed, getting up, getting changed, washed and dressed. But it’s also the other personal things that are important to me – putting on make up, applying self tan… those ordinary things that I’m finding quite difficult now. I was frightened I’d have to go into an institution. But the occupational therapist, physiotherapists, psychologists, nurses and doctors have been working closely together with me to help me manage my condition and be self-sufficient.”

Michelle uses direct payments to employ her own personal assistants. With their support she is able to continue doing the things she wants to do, including going to meetings, attending the gym and visiting friends and family.

“Having PAs means directing people to do what you want, when you want. It means I’m able to manage myself – so for instance if my partner is going into hospital I’m able to work with my PAs to make allowance for that. With the traditional caring system there wouldn’t have been this flexibility. I would have just become more dependent and more in need of that institutionalised care as opposed to being independent at home.

‘Unfortunately I think a lot of old-school caring was about taking care of people in a way that took away their independence, controlling their existence, telling them what to do and when. I want people to care about my safety, but also to let me take risks. Life without risk is like no life at all.

“It’s very important to me that I’m allowed to choose where I use my energy. One day I might want to dress myself, or do my own make up, or do my hair. I only have so much energy to go round now and I want to choose how I spend it. To me, independence isn’t about doing everything myself, it’s about being able to choose.”

Self Care Week
This year, Self Care Week will run from 12-18 November. Self Care Week is an annual national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations.

This year’s theme is ‘Self Care for Life – growing older healthily’, which builds on the European Active and Healthy Ageing initiative on improving the health knowledge of patients and the public as they get older. For Self Care Week 2012, we are extending this approach through all the life stages – from pre-birth to older years – to ensure healthy and happy living at every age.

Facts and figures

• 51.4m GP consultations are for minor ailments alone, which would clear up by themselves, or with a little help from an over-the-counter remedy; this is 18 per cent of the GP workload (Source: Making the case for the self-care of minor ailments August 2009 – Proprietary Association of Great Britain)
• Nearly half of these consultations are generated by people aged 16 – 59 years (Source: Making the case for the self-care of minor ailments August 2009 – Proprietary Association of Great Britain)
• Up to 40,000 GP visits per year are for dandruff; 20,000 go to their local surgery for travel-sickness and 5.2 million with blocked noses (Source: Making the case for the self-care of minor ailments August 2009 – Proprietary Association of Great Britain)
• 12 percent of people admit to having used A&E in the past even when they knew there was nothing seriously wrong with them (Source: Making the case for the self-care of minor ailments August 2009 – Proprietary Association of Great Britain)
• Since 2005/6, the number of First Attendances at A&E has gone up from 17,775,225 to 20,717,197 in 2010/11 (16.5 per cent) (Source: Department of Health A&E Attendances)
• Two million people who go to A&E could either self-care or have been treated elsewhere in the community (Source: The Health and Social Care Information Centre)