Doctors Told to Prescribe More Gardening

By Gary Cutlack on at

The UK's new health secretary is already bringing the ideas from his notebook to the political stage, with one of Matt Hancock's first pronouncements being an increase in the amount of money set aside in the health budget for "social prescribing" – the art of GPs sending people away with the key to an allotment or a voucher for a local samba class.

The art of encouraging social interaction as a treatment is mostly used in cases of depression and some other mental health issues, with Hancock keen to encourage GPs to treat some patients without resorting to handing out the drugs. Hancock told The Times: "Evidence has shown the potential benefits of approaches like social prescribing, which addresses people’s physical and mental wellbeing and has been shown to both improve patients’ quality of life and reduce pressure on other NHS services."

To that end he's sticking up £4.5 million of not-his-own-money to encourage the uptake of small, local schemes that may slightly close the floodgates on the overprescription of drugs for everything. [The Times]

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