WATCH VIDEO: The College of Medicine’s Chair Dr Michael Dixon has praised a community-led food co-operative in Lambeth, calling the project ‘social prescription at its very beginning and very best’.
Dr Dixon joined HRH Duchess of Cornwall in the London borough to help celebrate the project’s sixth birthday. The scheme started in 2013 with three gardens created in Lambeth GP surgeries.
The co-op says gardens in GP surgeries helps to support patients with long-term health conditions and invited the Duchess of Cornwall to tour a garden at Swann Mews, which was set up in June last year.
Addressing healthcare workers from Lambeth including GPs, nurses and link workers, Dr Dixon said: ‘Food is by far the most important factor in health and illness. What you’re doing here is more than just food, it’s about social environment, it’s about exercise, it’s about green activities.’
He continued: ‘What you’re doing is connecting general practice to the community – and what you’re giving us, as doctors, is the opportunity to give patients something that isn’t just pills, isn’t just potions.
‘This is social prescription at its very beginning and its very best.’
The College of Medicine Chair also praised the recent decision by the NHS to add more link workers as part of its ‘ten-year plan’.
In February, the NHS announced an army of advisers will be recruited to help patients live fitter, healthier lives and combat anxiety, loneliness and depression under plans to ramp up social prescribing.
He added: ‘I’m confident that the future will see projects like this one in Lambeth become universal. What you’ve shown is that strength and will and determination will win in the end.’
He also praised the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall for supporting such social prescription projects, saying the royals offered ‘a shot in the arm to a movement that’s going to make a difference to so many people.’