People are Canada’s greatest healthcare resource, but their potential is too often underestimated and under-valued.
Canada needs a National Self-Care Strategy now to:
Practicing self-care empowers Canadians to make healthy lifestyle choices, treat managable health ailments, manage or prevent chronic diseases, and so much more. Prioritizing self-care makes sure people can take better care of themselves, keeping ourselves healthy and our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
Even small changes have major impacts. If just 2% of Canadians who sought professional care for mild colds, headaches or heartburn practiced self-care instead, Canada could eliminate more than 3 million unneeded doctor visits annually and free up enough physician time to allow an additional 500,000 Canadians access to a family doctor.
Switching certain prescription drugs to non-prescription status could save an estimated:
$458 million in reduced cost of medicines
$290 million in reduced cost for doctor visits
$290 million in increased productivity and reduced absenteeism
Evidence shows that self-care has substantial health, economic, and social benefits. According to the World Health Organization, self-care increases access to medical care and quality of services, decreases inequities, improves social outcomes, and reduces overall healthcare costs.
After the United Kingdom identified self-care as one of its four National Health Service pillars and instituted supportive policies, use of publicly-funded healthcare services reduced significantly, health and quality of life improved, and NHS patient satisfaction increased.
People are Canada’s greatest healthcare resource, but their potential is too often underestimated and under-valued compared to the publicly-funded healthcare system. Self-care encompasses everything from making healthy lifestyle choices to treating minor health ailments, managing — or better yet — preventing chronic diseases, and more. Self-care literally lets people take better care of themselves, and it is essential to confident, independent, healthy lives."