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GPs to issue ‘social prescriptions’ for exercise in new pilot

Pharmacy News

GPs to issue ‘social prescriptions’ for exercise in new pilot

The Government has announced a new funded trial in parts of England whereby GPs will issue “social prescriptions” for activities like cycling and walking.

The Government has given £12.7m in multi-year funding to 11 local authorities, with the money going to pilot projects in each of the locations, including cycle training for adults, bicycle loans and mental health groups focusing on an activity like walking or cycling.

It is hoped the pilot – which will be delivered between now and 2025 – will help reduce GP appointments by improving people’s mental and physical health, as well as reducing reliance on medication as a result of more active lifestyles.

The pilot regions include Bradford, Cornwall, Leeds and Suffolk. Participating departments and agencies include the DHSC, Defra and NHS England.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said: “Getting active is hugely beneficial for both our mental and physical health – helping reduce stress and ward off other illness such as heart disease and obesity.

“The UK is leading the way in embedding social prescribing in our NHS and communities across the country.

“We’ve already exceeded our target to ensure over 900,000 people are referred to social prescribing schemes by 2023-24 and this pilot will help us identify further schemes to reduce disparities and boost mental and physical wellbeing across the country.”

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