A ‘first of its kind’ social prescribing app launched by a GP practice in north Northumberland is set to benefit patients
This is an edited version of an article first published by Northumberland Gazette.
Alnwick Medical Group (AMG) has teamed up with an app developer to create the virtual community noticeboard, an app 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 a wider focus on prevention. Instead of immediately going down the medical route, other paths may be more immediately beneficial. We are thus seeing a shift in healthcare towards social prescribing.
The app, launched earlier this month, will be managed by the practice to keep information up to date. New events and groups will be 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. Sixteen members of the team are 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 Brown challenged practice manager Sophie Wrightson, Neil Greer from Eazi-apps and local healthcare consultant Jon Thew to deliver it in less than 10 weeks.
“I’m confident that lots of people within our communities will benefit from this app,” Wrightson said.