Why caring for your own health is so important

Why caring for your own health is so important

For us privileged people who own a car, the day you get your first wheels is a revelation in independence and expanded horizons. We live in an era of planned obsolescence and change our car as soon as it develops problems, so we are kept vitalised exploring our larger world. But what if you were told that your car had to last you a lifetime? You would spend every weekend checking the water and oil, carefully watching tyre pressures, and polishing the bodywork with reverence. You couldn’t imagine being stupid enough to put diesel in your Ferrari. Now could you?

For over 50yrs we have had the luxury of having one of the best medical systems in the world that delivered free healthcare on demand, and we got used to taking our own health for granted because it could be fixed easily. Those days are over.
This week Dr Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, warned that we must take more care of ourselves because the resources of the NHS are limited. At the same time, Prof Martin Marshall, Head of the Royal College of General Practitioners to 2022, warned that General Practice (where 80% of the work of the NHS is done) is on life support. The failing economy of Britain has resulted in a decline in staff and investment at a time of increasing demand, a process also seen in Europe. Doctors in UK who saw 20 patients a day, now see 60 (and in Germany 120). The situation will get worse. Hospital waiting lists are now so long that the promise of treatments is a mirage.

With this reality, there is a rapidly developing scientific interest in ‘Lifestyle Medicine.’ We need effective education, with real scientific validation, about how to stay healthy, and treat naturally the ailments that are under our control. Meditation for blood pressure, exercise for depression, intelligent diet for diabetes, are just a starting point. 75% of illness is caused by self-neglect and faults in our life choices. By learning how to really look after the only body you will ever have, you can help it to last 100 years.

In addition, YOU CAN LEARN TO APPRECIATE YOUR GP who studied for nearly 10 years to be able to have the knowledge to care for you. Instead of worrying them with things you can fix yourself, you can share the burden by taking yourself seriously.


I am glad to be part of this initiative in Bruton to focus on how we can best take care of ourselves. Ultimately this lessens the burden on the NHS for those that need it most.

Dr.Anne Coxon, Physician in Internal Medicine and Neurology. MB.BS. DCH., MRCP. February 2024

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