Nature to prescribe GP patients in Derbyshire

A woman admiring nature

In the study, patients will be given a range of ideas to help them connect with the natural world

Natura is to be prescribed for the first time by healthcare professionals in England, following a successful pilot in Scotland.

During the trial in Derbyshire, prescribing services will offer patients ideas such as listening to birds sing.

Tom Miller, GP in Buxton, said: “Evidence is emerging that time outdoors is good for our health.”

The project is run by the RSPB and the Peak District National Park Authority.

They will work with two community prescribing services in High Peak, which receive referrals from 13 different GP surgeries in the area, local health teams and

Organizers said the Nature Prescriptions trial will include a leaflet and a calendar of ideas that will put people in touch with nature and improve their health and well-being.

They said there is a growing body of evidence showing the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature, including reducing stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

They said prescriptions are based on accessible, self-contained activities that people can do at home, alone or with others.

The trial is the result of successful pilot projects carried out by RSPB Scotland in the Shetland Islands and Edinburgh where over 74% of patients said they had benefited.

The project is now expanding to other locations in Scotland as well.

Someone is planting flowers

Derbyshire will be the first area in England to take part in the process

Sarah Walker, nature and wellbeing project manager at RSPB England, said: “I’m excited to see the project come to life at High Peak and can’t wait to see what benefits people in the area will have.”

Dr Miller said: “Making sure we look after our health and well-being is extremely important, especially in January when life can be a real struggle; days are short and money may be limited.

“Evidence is emerging that time outdoors is good for our health, and this is a brilliant, simple and cost-effective way of supporting people to do so.”

Man on a mobility scooter

We hope the trial will be extended to other parts of England

Jess McFall, Community Prescription Manager at High Peak Community and Voluntary Support, said: “Being the first area in England committed to Nature Prescriptions is exciting and inspiring.

“We’ve been really impressed with the materials and look forward to connecting our customers with nature and seeing the impact this can have on members of our community.”

Jo Hanney, ranger at the Peak District National Park, said: “We have decades of experience in enabling people to connect with nature in the Peak District National Park, but RSPB Nature Prescription is a new way of working for us.

“We will be able to reach a much wider and more diverse audience by connecting people to the National Park through a prescription.”

It is hoped that the study will be extended to the whole of England and other health professionals in the future.

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