UK health service to prescribe social activities rather than drugs in new treatment plans

We have all been given general health advice such as; drink more water, eat more green vegetables and rest. Usually, from a suspicious parent, it’s a math test rather than appendicitis.

Well, the NHS is going a step further with ‘social prescribing’, which could see GPs recommending gardening, baking and joining an art society over medication.

Is it the NHS trying to warn convinced hypochondriacs they have yet another rare disease?

Or did they take a bribe from a partner desperate to have the lawn mowed?

Apparently it’s neither.

According to the NHS, social prescribing is a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing, connecting people to community groups and services for practical and emotional support.

The goal is to help patients who have chronic problems that standard treatments have not helped to improve their quality of life.

According to the Daily Mail, social prescribing became official health service policy in 2019 when then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock opened Britain’s National Social Prescribing Academy. He said it could “help us fight against over-medicalizing people” and save money.

Sean Jennings, a 61-year-old man with chronic pain, had benefited greatly from the social prescribing model when his GP referred him to a pain management center after years of heavy medication.

“His mantra was ‘Skills, not pills,’ and it changed my life,” says Sean. “I am now off all drugs. My pain didn’t go away, but I was taught to ignore it.

Joel C. Hicks