Self Care Library for chronic conditions

Explore our self care library here.

The Self Care Library is an evidence based resource for both the public and health professionals. The first 12 conditions are common 'effectiveness gaps'- long-term relapsing health problems where prescription are often less than satisfactory: IBS, tension type headache, low back pain, 'fibromyalgia', mild to moderate depression among them.

The website at has pages organised into four sections: an introduction explaining about the illness, plus browsable sections on 'making some simple changes' (ie diet, exercise and relaxation techniques), buying something to try, and attending classes/visiting a practitioner.

We have included OTC medicines, nutritional supplements and herbal medicines - but only if there is a good enough evidence base. Similarly, where there is some evidence to suggest for instance that acupuncture or osteopathy might be helpful we have included complementary therapies too. The quality of the evidence is given a simple score, and there are ratings for costs. A crucially important feature is the way the site can link users directly to summaries of the research behind the information.

The Self Care Library is the main outcome of a DH-supported multi-centre project ‘Integrating Self Care in Family Practice’. The project was a two year collaboration involving the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Westminster, Bromley by Bow Centre and the Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health. By agreement with the DH the SCL was assigned to the new College of Medicine as a free the service to the public.

Practitioners surveyed have found it a very helpful resource when faced with a patient asking “What can I do for myself Doctor?’

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