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Coffee mornings for the lonely and ill
Loneliness is a terrible thing to endure at whatever age, but if a new policy that is being trialled proves successful its effects could be mitigated somewhat by doctors prescribing coffee mornings to sufferers.
GP’s are being urged to send ‘frequent attender’ patients to local community activities such as coffee mornings instead of just fobbing them off with prescriptions for drugs and anti depressants. In addition to social coffee mornings the NHS wants to encourage people to take up mind expanding activities such as art classes, dance lessons, volunteering opportunities and walking groups.
It is not just loneliness that the NHS hope to head off at the pass with this new initiative as other conditions such as heart disease and obesity can also be tackled at the same time. NHS England wants to get more GP’s to prescribe these activities particularly amongst the over 65’s. They quote the statistics obtained from one East Sussex GP’s practice where the scheme was introduced some time ago and they have seen a 60 percent reduction in the number of visits by these so called ‘frequent attenders’.
It’s not just in wealthy East Sussex where the scheme is being trialled as similar results have been obtained as far afield as Haverhill in Suffolk as well as in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.