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Northumbria Healthcare prescribes a dose of ‘social’ medicine

Thursday, 14 March, 2019
Northumbria Healthcare prescribes a dose of ‘social’ medicine

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is proud to be supporting the first international Social Prescribing Day.

At present, the trust provides community support and services aimed at tackling issues such as mental health and obesity but are aiming to go further. Social prescribing is about treating the person; not just the illness.

For instance, the trust now offers a volunteer led ‘befriending’ service. This, nationally recognised, programme is run through (the trusts own) charity Bright.  It brings young people of school age together with those in need for a chat, a walk and – hopefully! – a laugh. In this way it brings truly amazing benefits to both; certainly more than any pill can deliver on its own.

Care comes in all shapes and sizes … and sometimes with fur! Thanks to local charity WAG & Co the trust can now arrange dog walks for many of its patients; encouraging them to stay active and connected.

The only problem so far has been over popularity! In huge demand in the community and soon to arrive on hospital wards across the area the impact has been enormous; genuinely changing lives.

Perhaps not surprising, after all: who doesn’t love a puppy!

Judith Stonebridge, consultant in public health at Northumbria Healthcare said:

“I am delighted that we are supporting Social Prescribing Day. It is fantastic news for our patients and shows just how innovative our staff are. By helping patients in this way it conveys a sense of belonging, of purpose and, best of all, dignity. I have seen first-hand how a simple volunteer role has changed a person’s life; giving them a reason to get better as well as the means.

“We know that loneliness and isolation can have a negative impact on health and many of our patients may be experiencing these issues, Never underestimate the power of a cup of tea, and  a chat  they are some of the most powerful things out there.”

As part of this effort Northumbria Healthcare are soon to launch ‘it’s all about you’; a campaign designed to ensure patients and their families have access – in plain English – to the information that really matters when using the NHS and helping them to be in control of their care.

For instance, by tailoring treatment to what matters on an individual basis and not following an arbitrary checklist; if you love hiking more than anything we want to help you get back on the fells!

This will include top tips on how to use services and on getting the best out a consultation or appointment. As well as how we aim to work with you when making decisions about your care; built around your particular needs and circumstances.


Notes to editors:

Social prescribing allows healthcare professionals to refer into or recommend a range of (non-clinical) services as potential remedies or as part of wider treatment plans. The aim is to encourage people to focus on improving their overall health and wellbeing; without always seeking a (solely) ‘clinical’ remedy.

Further reading can be found here.


Media contact:

Elliot Nichols

0191 203 1512 / 07966 490736

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