Skip to main content


Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to encourage appropriate self-care by patients in treatment of minor ailments; (317952)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to educate patients on circumstances where (a) self-care is appropriate in the treatment of a minor ailments and (b) it is appropriate to seek medical advice.

Community pharmacies are very accessible to patients and the public and have a key role to play in supporting self-care—providing advice and support to people requesting help with the treatment of minor ailments, illnesses and injuries. This includes advising on the use of over-the-counter treatments, where appropriate, and when medical advice should be sought. The White Paper, “Pharmacy in England: Building on strengths—delivering the future”, aims to increase pharmacies contribution to supporting effective self-care and make better use of the range of skills and services available in pharmacies.

NHS Choices and NHS Direct also offer facilities, such as online symptom checkers and self-assessment tools, to help people understand where self-care is appropriate in the treatment of minor ailments, and when they should seek advice from medical professionals.