Social prescribing for patients

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It's time to stop popping pills and become more social says the UK health secretary, Matt Hancock 

Mr Hancock has recently suggested that doctors start using ‘social prescribing' for patients suffering from dementia instead of going straight to drugs. 

Being exposed to different arts and cultures has been said to help an array of health problems from mental to aging, with going to the local library helping battle stress, obesity and depression, while reading a book creates a quiet and calm environment, better than watching tv or playing on your phone, pills may not be the only way. 

With accepting pills as a cure for our health problems straight away, some people avoid dealing with the root cause of them. 

Doctors who often give medication first, that could come with nasty side effects, can now prescribe Spotify, yoga classes, bingo and knitting clubs. 

Not only can these new prescriptions help with serious health problems, but they can also make people happier and increase their quality of life. 

Hancock has stated that this new ‘social' scheme may also ease the pressure placed on the NHS. 

"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."

With a history of working as a cardiologist for the NHS, Mr Hancock wants to form a National Academy for Arts on Prescription making these kinds of prescriptions available to all NHS patients in all of England by 2023 

The health secretary has also promised a whopping £4.5 million towards this scheme in July. 

The focus of this scheme will be on people who are isolated socially due to mental health or learning difficulties and provide support for transgender and minority cases that have been impacted by health inequalities. 

It will also focus on helping others with complex needs who require constant health services. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has also backed this approach and encourages doctors to recommend walking groups, local choirs and arts and crafts to individuals at risk of being lonely and/or isolated. 

Although there are many positive opinions on this new proposal a review looking at the studies of social programming between the years of 2009 and 2016 found that the evidence failed to help judge either the success nor value for money of the scheme. 

It also added that none of the studies could be trusted because of bias and poor methodology. 

Mr Hancock is eager to get the scheme underway to help give patients an alternative to pills and helping some people feel less lonely in the process. 

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