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Social prescribing- a good use of resources?

(33 Posts)
ixion Tue 06-Apr-21 09:06:25

BBC News website this morning England>Nottingham

"People could be prescribed an afternoon of paddleboarding or some canal-side gardening to improve their health.
Nearly £50,000 has been given to The Thriving Communities project so patients can make use of the Nottingham and Beeston canal.
Doctors and health workers in Nottingham will be able to refer people to canal-based community projects in what is called "social prescribing".
One GP said it can "improve the quality of somebody's life".
The Canal and River Trust said groups in Nottingham would receive the money to offer people activities to "boost their physical and mental health"

Do you agree in principle?

foxie48 Tue 06-Apr-21 09:17:59

TBH I don't disagree with money being used to boost physical and mental health but I think there are services which need the money more than the Nottingham and Beeston canal. Try getting help for eating disorders, addiction, anything to do with children's mental health, coping therapies eg CBT, there are long waits for pretty much everything.

Casdon Tue 06-Apr-21 09:20:48

I think being outside has a profound impact on your health, and with so many people suffering from mental ill health at the the moment, this seems like one way of identifying people who could benefit from some enjoyment in their lives, as well as helping the Canal and River Trust in difficult economic times, which then also benefits the rest of the public using the environments they offer. So yes, I’d support the idea.

Sago Tue 06-Apr-21 09:28:17

I think our disconnection from nature and other humans is the cause of a number of ills.
So to spend time with other people in a beautiful setting, hopefully getting some seratonin can only help.

Elegran Tue 06-Apr-21 09:39:53

foxie48 This "social prescribing" could be an indirect help with "eating disorders, addiction, anything to do with children's mental health, coping therapies eg CBT" by giving them a project to be part of and people to work with and chat to.

mumofmadboys Tue 06-Apr-21 09:43:36

I agree with Elegran. Hopefully the opportunities will be offered to teenagers who are struggling and other folk who are falling by the wayside.

BigBertha1 Tue 06-Apr-21 09:53:14

I dont disagree with the principle but several of these schemes have been tried before notably gym membership, slimming club fees etc. I dont know if the outcomes were good or not on a macro level but I have heard individual reports that they were enjoyed but I have never heard about any tangible outcomes like weight loss or improvements in well being. Its a lot of money a deal of which will go on admin as susual.

growstuff Tue 06-Apr-21 10:02:58

£50,000 wouldn't actually buy many health appointments, so it could be a good use of money to improve people's mental and physical health. Another idea which I know has been successful is the provision of community allotments.

Peasblossom Tue 06-Apr-21 10:08:58

Nottingham has the most stunning set of allotments I’ve ever seen, in the middle of one of the most deprived areas of the City. A real community project. I’m going to an open day in June.

I’m not surprised they’re supporting the Canal project. They do seem to be a Council that gives some thought to the well-being of their citizens.

olddudders Tue 06-Apr-21 10:17:54

Being outdoors in clement weather is good for all of us. Canals are great places - I enjoyed a couple of narrowboat holidays when I was younger. But the organisers will have to be very careful with the beneficiaries, some of whom may not be best adapted to staying upright, and immersion is a risk. Let's hope this doesn't founder under a flurry of ambulance-chasing claims.

CafeAuLait Tue 06-Apr-21 10:26:41

I think it's a good move towards a more holistic approach to health. Especially when mental health concerns are so prevalent. The social connection and time outside will be good for people. As long as those for whom this isn't suitable aren't pressed into it.

kittylester Tue 06-Apr-21 10:27:35

I have a friend who has been a social prescribe for a group of practices for about 3 years. They have seen great results.

Galaxy Tue 06-Apr-21 10:29:53

Yes I think that's a good use of funding. I would want to see the results as with anything although often the benefits of this type of support are difficult to quantify.

Doodledog Tue 06-Apr-21 11:33:09

It all seems a bit vague, and I would need to know more of the detail before deciding whether or not I agree with spending on a scheme like this.

Is it ‘extra’ money, or is it being diverted from the health budget when people are waiting for long-postponed operations, for example? Who qualifies? Will this be at the doctor’s discretion (so allocated on medical grounds) or will there be a means test? How will success be measured? How many people would £50,000 help?

I would want to know the answers to those questions (and more) before I could form an opinion, but it seems a good idea in principle.

Nannarose Tue 06-Apr-21 11:38:31

I would approach it from a different point of view, and make a lot of simple outdoor resources available to all. For instance, I live in an area with a lot of old industrial towns, but some fantastic countryside. The countryside parks are in theory open to all, but have to charge for car parking (and don't even THINK about trying to get anywhere by bus!). I would like to see a number of free parking vouchers issued, so folk on a limited budget can enjoy the countryside.
I'd actually rather see very good public transport around the area, but I don't live in cloud-cuckoo-land!

Calendargirl Tue 06-Apr-21 12:13:16

The gym membership and slimming club fees are a good idea if carried on after the initial free period, but I think a lot drop out as soon as they have to pay.

MerylStreep Tue 06-Apr-21 12:31:38

Being out in the open air next to water is a win win. Great idea from this council.

GillT57 Tue 06-Apr-21 13:13:23

This is a good idea I think, finally accepting the holistic approach to health is a huge step in the right direction. There are many well documented successes with forces veterans suffering from PTSD for example; hands on activities, 'mens sheds', allotments, working on gardens etc., have all been found to benefit the participants and of course, the lands, grounds, allotments themselves. Better than using medical coshes with drugs all the time. Fresh air, companionship, self esteem for a day's work done and enjoyed goes a long way.

greenlady102 Tue 06-Apr-21 13:16:36

I think that the choice needs widening.....why is a gardening group ok but a crafting group not

Nannarose Tue 06-Apr-21 13:50:39

I think that the idea is that local people get to decide. We have a craft group locally that is supported from some health funds - it actually meets in a countryside park so win-win!
I think some people think that as a craft group is sedentary, it may be less 'healthy' but ours supports lonely people, and also enables those of us with old-fashioned skills to share with younger people.
Our 'health walks' are also amazingly well supported - in normal times these attract 40-50 people. But again, getting there by bus is difficult. I think some decision-makers think that people who have cars are by definition well-off. That may apply in urban areas, but in rural areas a car is essential.

Elegran Tue 06-Apr-21 13:50:47

I think it is just that they haven't got round to craft groups yet. Once the outdoor therapy become commonplace, indoor craft groups could follow.

kittylester Tue 06-Apr-21 13:58:13

My friend 'prescribes' volunteering in certain circumstances!!

This has been happening round here for a while so probably not the same initiative - or a pilot

PamelaJ1 Tue 06-Apr-21 16:52:12


The gym membership and slimming club fees are a good idea if carried on after the initial free period, but I think a lot drop out as soon as they have to pay.

Our new surgery complex has its own gym . I know 3 women who were able to use the facilities on prescription. When the sessions ended it was hoped that they would transfer to a regular gym. None of them did although finance wasn’t a problem for any of them.

M0nica Tue 06-Apr-21 17:46:14

If it works and improves the health and wellbeing of those receiving it - why not?

Why the Nottingham and Beeston Canal? i would imagine because it is the nearest facility that was willing and able to offer the kind of activities the person in charge of this programme required in a way and at a time they required it.

foxie, I think you are confusing cause and effect. The choice isn't between the Canal trust and helping those with eating disorders. It is between spending money on social prescribing and eating disorders.

It could be that social prescribing would help people in the categories you mention. In which case, if living in the Nottingham area they could be directed to the Thriving Communities project for inclusion on one of their schemes, that may or may not involve the Canal trust.

I assume these schemes run elsewhere and they may be of great help to children with mental health problems.

Ro60 Tue 06-Apr-21 19:29:38

In principle yes, get people interacting, feeling they are needed/ wanted & of value.
Opportunities to form new freindships.
Teaches new skills which if they wanted, could lead to employment.
But where exactly would the £50,000 go? How would it be used?