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MHA welcomes Matt Hancock’s, Health Secretary, announcement of a National Academy for Social Prescribing. As one of the most well-respected care providers in the sector, we recognise the value of non-medical interventions.

MHA is involved in a variety of activities which would come under the banner of social prescribing such as Music Therapy for those living with dementia, programmes to reduce the risk of future falls, and art groups. Through Live At Home schemes these involve increased employability, help in accessing training and gaining qualifications for younger people as well as a variety of activities than benefit older people.

Our experience from providing services to older people for 75 years, has been that social prescribing has been inconsistent across the country, and between GP’s and prescribing activity providers.

Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of External Affairs says ‘This is a positive step and recognises the value that social prescribing can have on individuals whether that is through befriending, strength and balance programmes or hobbies and physical activities. Social prescribing can also help reduce the costs on the NHS as well as on social care.’

‘Many of our Live at Homes Schemes provide activities that people can be recommended to, on social prescription and it encourages and enables older people especially, to live independently for longer. Social prescribing activities can help reduce the impact of loneliness and isolation.’

Pavan continues ‘We know that social prescribing is a great addition to traditional medication and in many circumstances can lead to the reduction of and reliance on medication. This comes with a cost however and our concern is that too often, money does not follow the provision meaning that many charities and other non-for-profit organisations lose out financially. Also the take up of social prescribing is patchy across the country but we hope that the National Academy for Social Prescribing will address these issues.

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