The new 'social prescribing' app set to revolutionise health and wellbeing in Northumberland
Patients in north Northumberland will be able to reap the benefits of a‘social prescribing’ app – thought to be the first of its kind in the region – launched by a GP practice in the county.
Alnwick Medical Group (AMG) has teamed up with an app developer to create the virtual community noticeboard, which is now available to download on both Apple and Android devices.
Social prescribing is a broad term for signposting people to anything that can help their wellbeing – whether it’s exercise, a social or creative group or specialist support when needed.
It is one of the concepts being pushed by the NHS as part of the wider focus on prevention and a wider shift in healthcare to avoid always going down the medical route to resolve issues, when other paths may be more beneficial.
Having been launched earlier this month, the app – Alnwick Social Prescribing – will be managed by the practice to keep information up to date, with new events and groups added over the coming days and weeks.
Tony Brown, managing partner at AMG, said: “We support our patients and community with their healthcare needs and with this new app, we’ll be able to help our patients find great new solutions to their current non-medical problems, as well as telling people in our communities about some of the things going on around them.
“We’ve developed the app to link directly to systems where patients can book appointments and order medication too.”
The group, which formed in the summer of 2017 from the merger of The Bondgate Practice and Infirmary Drive Medical Group, launched a programme of social prescribing last year, with 16 of the team now trained in the health and safety aspect of leading local health walks, as well as linking with the weekly parkrun.
One of the GP partners, Dr Helen Moor, said: “I’ve seen some amazing results with a range of people attending our more social events, such as the knitting and walking groups.
“There is already lots going on in Alnwick and its surrounding towns that supports people’s health and it made sense to bring it all together.”
The app came about after Tony challenged a team of three to deliver it in less than 10 weeks – practice manager Sophie Wrightson, Neil Greer, from Eazi-apps, and Jon Thew, a local healthcare consultant.
“I’m confident that lots of people within our communities will benefit from this app,” Sophie said.