EEP Group

Kelly calls for a greater emphasis on self-care health treatment

Published: Thu, 01 February 2024

Share this

In a bid to create a more sustainable healthcare system, Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, is calling for a greater emphasis on self-care health treatments. This initiative aims to free up the healthcare system, reduce costs for taxpayers, and empower individuals to take control of their own health.

“Promoting self-care can alleviate pressure on primary care physicians, allowing them to focus on more complex cases,” Kelly said at a high-level event in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

A recent survey conducted by the Association of the European Self-Care Industry revealed that 1.2 billion cases of minor ailments are self-managed with non-prescription medication each year in Europe, resulting in savings exceeding €36 billion.

“The role of self-care and over-the-counter medicines is an extremely important element to expand access to treatments. The accessibility of certain medications without a prescription can be a lifeline, particularly for minor ailments or chronic conditions that can be managed responsibly with the guidance of healthcare professionals,” Kelly continued.

Using Asthma as an illustrative example, Kelly underlined the need for increased accessibility to medications like Ventolin inhalers: “For medications that require a prescription, where a patient has received the medication for long periods, there should be a way to make it easier for patients to get access to this medication. A patient could have years of proof of past prescriptions, yet they could be in a situation where they run out and have to wait for a GP visit to refill the prescription, clogging up the health system and costing extra for patients.”

Asthma, affecting about 340 million individuals worldwide, has a prevalence of 7% in Irish adults and 21% in Irish children. Kelly advocates for increased accessibility to inhalers, citing that approximately 40% of Asthma sufferers don’t take their medication as prescribed due to cost concerns.

“Asthma is a good example; there are approximately 460,000 people sufferers in Ireland.  Ventolin inhalers are the most common quick-relief medication, yet patients can get a prescription for a very limited supply. Removing the need to see a physician for every refill would save time and money for the patient and allow their doctor see other patients. This will particularly help parents who would not have to miss work to bring their child to the GP.

“Self-care should be viewed as a valuable complement to our healthcare system, providing citizens with timely and convenient options for managing their health. It not only enhances accessibility, but also contributes to the efficient use of healthcare resources, ensuring that our medical professionals can focus on more complex cases,” MEP Kelly concluded.

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of this site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.