GPs up in Shetland are the first in the country to try an entirely new method of tackling obesity and all the other forms of modern malaise that have us staring sad-faced at our doctors all the time, with 10 surgeries around the islands starting a scheme that encourages the prescribing of walking and birdwatching to help with various physical and mental ailments.
The RSPB has assisted in the scheme, compiling lists of types of birds to be seen and mapping out a few nice walks people might like to take, with the idea being that a bit of exercise never hurt anyone as long as they keep away from the damp clifftops, don't eat the mushrooms, and avoid engaging talking to the locals about politics, and that such forms of supplemental, non-druggy medicine that don't really even cost anything may improve quality of life for some.
Local GP Dr Chloe Evans has already been running a pilot of the scheme, and said: "There are millions of different ways of doing medicine but we very much try to involve people in their own health, and people really like being empowered. People are always thinking at some level about their diet or exercise or stopping smoking but finding out what works for them is the key. The beauty about Shetland is it has this fantastic wild landscape." [Guardian]
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