In our newsletters, we always like to include articles by guest writers. To find out how Social Prescribing is being applied in practice, we sent one of our newsletter team along to her local surgery to find out more. The article below was put together by the team at Binscombe Medical Centre to describe their approach.
Patients contact our GP surgery for a huge variety of reasons.
There is not always a medication that we can prescribe to patients; some may already be on the maximum dose of their medication and some may have a clinical reason why they cannot be prescribed the most effective treatment, and there are some things that medication is just not appropriate for. In its place, there are lots of therapies that can be hugely beneficial, in a way that medication can never do.
At Binscombe Medical Centre, we recognise the connection between our physical, mental and social wellness and we are passionate about this holistic approach to health and wellbeing. We believe there is great value in taking regular exercise to help our patients stay well so, in 2017, we set up our weekly Walking For Health Group that takes place every Tuesday. The walks help improve mobility and are beneficial for patients struggling with respiratory conditions such as COPD and cardiac conditions. There are also great benefits to patients’ mental health and wellbeing due to the social connection of the walks. The human connection part of this is immeasurable and we have had many patients who came along because they had been feeling isolated or needed some social interaction. We have two distances of walk to cater for all abilities with more information on our website.
On a different venture, we are also in the process of setting up Farncombe Community Garden. This is a project which aims to benefit both patients and the local community. Gardening has a range of proven health benefits for everyone involved; for example, physical activity levels are increased, a sense of community is created and mental health can be improved.
All our health care professionals advocate outdoor exercise both for themselves and our patients, especially as we are located in one of the most beautiful parts of Surrey. It is often more applicable and more powerful than anything we can prescribe even when the issue feels insurmountable.
As well as these outdoor activities we also offer other non-medical therapies such as our GP Chaplain and we are looking into setting up a support group for parents who had a Lockdown Birth. More information on these and other initiatives can be found on our Binscombe Medical Centre website.