Social prescribing

Just what the doctor ordered

Traditional ideas about “going to the doctors” are changing as a result of a new initiative, known as social prescribing (sometimes called community referral). Research shows that around half of GP appointments aren’t related to medical conditions so, rather than directing people to medication, doctors are now prescribing alternative solutions to help people to get - and stay - well.

How does it work?

Solutions that help people to be active and happy are shown to have a positive impact on health, so advising someone to enrol in art class, learn a bit of ballroom dancing or join a “knit and natter” group can be more effective than directing them to the local chemist.

How can I access it?

Social prescribing is being piloted in a number of GP surgeries in Central Bedfordshire with the intention to roll the service out everywhere in due course.  It is being supported by us,  our NHS partners and local voluntary organisation, the Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC). The service is free and available to adults who are experiencing issues affecting their mental health and wellbeing, where poor health is being caused by social isolation, lifestyle or other underlying issues, and are registered with participating GP surgeries in Central Bedfordshire. We work with the BRCC who have recruited Community Wellbeing Champions to develop personalised plans for people and to support them to turn these into action. The plans are designed to appeal to what each person is most likely to connect with and could include gardening, befriending or social groups. To find out more about the scheme enquire at your local surgery.

Who's taking part?

The following GP surgeries are taking part:

  • Caddington Surgery
  • Kingsbury Surgery, Dunstable
  • Houghton Regis Medical Centre
  • Ivel Medical Centre, Biggleswade
  • Shefford Health Centre
  • Sandy Health Centre
  • Saffron Health Partnership, Biggleswade
  • Asplands Surgery & Woburn Surgery, Woburn
  • Flitwick Surgery
  • Oliver Street Surgery, Ampthill
  • Bassett Road Surgery, Leighton Buzzard

Our community development project in Houghton Regis

We are funding a community development project that’s being run being run by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC). The time2connect project hopes to connect local residents in Houghton Regis, bringing communities from new developments together with the existing population in the town.

The project is aiming to improve the mental health, wellbeing and self-esteem of residents by:

  • tackling isolation
  • encouraging a sense of community
  • supporting residents to become more actively involved in their community

For more information or to get involved, visit Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC), or Your Wellbeing Bedfordshire. You can also call 07392 722296.