Social prescribing key in prevention agenda, says RCGP

Publication date: 06 November 2018

Responding to Health Secretary Matt Hancock's speech on social prescribing at The King's Fund today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Not everyone will benefit from traditional medical care, and we know that encouraging patients to take up new hobbies or skills instead of more conventional approaches can have a hugely positive impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

"Social prescribing is not a new phenomenon – it just hasn't had a name until recently – but benefits can include less medication being prescribed, fewer follow-up consultations, and more patients becoming actively involved in their own health.

"The College has already welcomed the government's pledge to provide an extra £1.8m for community projects across the country by 2023, so it’s encouraging to see Mr Hancock build on this with his promise of a National Academy for Social Prescribing. It will be very interesting to see how it will work in practice, and we look forward to more details being announced.

"Preventing people from becoming ill by emphasising the importance of preventative measures is a step in the right direction, but we need the right resources if we're going to be able to deliver far more of this kind of care.

"The College has long been calling for every GP surgery to have access to a dedicated social prescriber to help with this work, for example, but it's imperative that ultimately, general practice is given the investment it needs.

"We need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promises 5,000 more GPs and an extra £2.4bn a year for general practice, on top of our additional ask of another £2.5bn a year, delivered, in full, as soon as possible, so we can continue to deliver the care our patients need and deserve."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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