SMI launches self-care alliance with pharmacy backing

Reproduced courtesy of Pharmacy Today

Michelle Norton [email protected] Tuesday 27 October 2015, 8:50AM

 

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Self Medication Industry executive director Tim Roper and Health Navigator New Zealand founder Janine Bycroft launch the self-care alliance

After more than a year of lobbying health officials, the New Zealand Self Medication Industry (SMI) has launched its self-care alliance at its annual conference in Auckland today (22 October).
SMI executive director Tim Roper says the not-for-profit Self Care Alliance New Zealand (SCANZ) aims to inspire, educate and support New Zealanders to better manage their own and their families’ health through the self-care system.
“Self care can include physical exercise and sound nutrition to maintain good health and prevent disease, as well as helping people to understand how to use over-the-counter and prescription medicines to treat and prevent illness,” Mr Roper says in a media release.
SMI has spent more than a year lobbying the Government to back a self-care alliance, including presenting a proposal to politicians involved with health (Pharmacy Today, May 2014).
“Self care can be as simple as knowing how to treat a mild headache appropriately or when to seek the advice of a GP,” Mr Roper says.
“There’s no reason why, with support, more people can’t safely diagnose and treat many common medical problems themselves and be in better control of their health.”
But Mr Roper stresses this does not mean leaving the public to manage their health without support.
Pharmacists also play a key role in self care, including: improving health literacy, supporting safe use of medicines, providing advice on minor ailments, providing preventative care through immunisation and complementary medicines, and referring to other health professionals when appropriate, he says.
The alliance is being launched as New Zealand faces increasing rates of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which threaten to overwhelm health services, he says.
Self-care alliance gets health sector backing
SMI has been setting up the alliance over the past six months and has appointed a working group including Pharmacy Guild chief executive Lee Hohaia and Green Cross Health professional services manager Alison Van Wyk.
SCANZ now has members from across the health sector, including DHBs, healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers, public and private funders, healthcare product companies and consumer representatives.
The alliance sits under the Health Navigator Trust – a charity which provides New Zealanders with health resources – and shares similar principles on self-care.
Trust founder Jane Bycroft is a GP with a strong interest in long-term-conditions and self-care and formed the navigator trust six years ago.
SCANZ will now focus on projects in four areas: policy and advocacy, workforce development, Self Care Week and self-care resources.
Ministry backs pharmacy minor-ailments scheme
The Ministry of Health also backs the concept of a pharmacy-led minor ailments strategy in its Draft Pharmacy Action Plan 2015-2020, launched on 12 October, saying it would lead to patients getting earlier treatment and more appropriate referral for conditions.
However, the ministry says patients would have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for a funded minor ailments scheme.
Australia and the UK already have self-care alliances and SCANZ plans to work with these international alliances.
SMI conference delves into meds regulations
This year’s SMI conference includes a panel discussion with industry insiders on the Government’s pending update to therapeutics legislation.
Pharmacy Today/Guild Pharmacy Awards Supreme winner Martin Harris will also share his views on nutrition medicine as a point-of-care opportunity for pharmacy.
Around 110 representatives from across the health sector are attending the conference.
Pharmacy Today is also attending – check pharmacytoday.co.nz for more updates.