Isolation diary: Prescribing social activities

Social prescribing is a relatively new concept within health care. It means that health professionals can refer a patient towards non-clinical activities that will improve their health, in many cases for free.

I first came aware of social prescription in Kingston when our GP referred us both to the Get Active programme, which is a 12 week course under the supervision of a trainer in a local gym.  It was free when we did it, but they now charge a small amount per session.

GPs in my NHS area can also refer a patient to one of several local slimming clubs, entitling them to 12 weeks free membership. It makes so much sense – the patient has the benefit of expert advice and a support group, and the cost to the NHS is much less than through their own programmes. To qualify you have to live in the Borough, have a BMI greater than 28 and be over 16.

These activities, and very many others, were all pulled together about 6 months ago in Connected Kingston. This is a joint project run by Kingston Council, the NHS and Kingston Voluntary Action, our umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector. Local residents can search for advice and activities on just about anything that is provided by local voluntary or public services, and health providers can prescribe quite a number of them.

To support all this, Connected Kingston Champions have been identified in GP surgeries, council offices, leisure centres and pharmacies, and they can point people towards activities to suit their needs.

I’m sure there are similar projects across the country, although our local portfolio holder for Adult Social Care reckons that Kingston is leading the way on social prescription.

Sadly, most of the activities that can be socially prescribed locally have been curtailed during lockdown. All that voluntary energy is, of course, being channelled into supporting vulnerable people during this period, but social prescribing will be running again once we get back to something approaching normal.



PS: In central Kingston there is a well-known sculpture consisting of twelve tumbling telephone boxes. It features in the logo for Connected Kingston above. We recently won a local Zoom-based quiz by identifying its official name and creator. Can you?



Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 10th Jul - 8:01pm
    On the other hand, David Evershed, the Treasury supporting a higher proportion of the income of the poorest households than it has the income of...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 10th Jul - 7:56pm
    Peter Martin, monetary policy and financial market stability is only one element of economic management. Fiscal policy is equally important but like monetary policy it...
  • User Avatarexpats 10th Jul - 7:00pm
    Manfarang 9th Jul '20 - 8:31am........................Yes indeed. There was no way of borrowing this country out of austerity following the fallout from the 2008 financial...
  • User AvatarJohn Littler 10th Jul - 6:29pm
    Yes, legalise, regulate and tax it. There is no case for doing it any differently. The case for banning the unbanable is usually based on...
  • User AvatarJohn Littler 10th Jul - 6:20pm
    I was not expecting to see Lancashire folk band from the 70's, the Houghton Weavers link on LibDem voice (Lloyd George) When marxist regimes get...
  • User AvatarJLittler 10th Jul - 6:06pm
    When Clegg took the big FB job, he was perfectly entitled to do the best for him and his family and it was not up...