Government pledges £4.5m to boost social prescribing programmes

DOHASCThe government has announced a £4.5m investment to enable GPs to refer more patients to social activities and other types of support to improve health and wellbeing.

In a statement the Department of Health and Social Care said it hoped the funding would reduce demand on NHS services as well as ‘improving patients quality of life, health and wellbeing by recognising that health is affected by a range of social, economic and environmental factors’.

It referred to a UK study which showed, after three to four months, 80 per cent of patients referred to a social prescribing scheme had reduced their use of A&E, outpatient appointments and inpatient admissions.

The announcement detailed a total of 23 social prescribing projects in England which will receive a share of the funding including local voluntary and community services such as walking clubs, gardening or arts activities.

Care Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “The voluntary and community sector has such a vital role to play in working with our health system to provide the kind of support that you can’t receive at your local GP surgery or hospital.

“This new funding will mean that many more people receive support that looks at their needs holistically, enabling them to live happier, more independent lives. I look forward to seeing these projects put their plans into action and provide support to hundreds of thousands more people.”

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