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GMB poll reveals true cost of loneliness

A third of health professionals say that patients see them more regularly because of loneliness.

Good Morning Britain’s 1 Million Minutes campaign is encouraging viewers to pledge 60 minutes of their time to help a friend, family member or someone in their community who is lonely after a survey conducted by Pulse magazine revealed the strain loneliness is having on the NHS.

A new survey of 1334 health professionals working in GP surgeries in the UK revealed more than a quarter of health professionals (27%) believe their time and NHS resources are majorly drained by treating lonely people.

Nearly a third (32% ) confessed they regularly see patients who come to them because they are just lonely.

One in six (16%) said loneliness is at epidemic proportions in today's society compared with just 10 years ago with 63% responding that loneliness is a much bigger problem in today's society than a decade ago.

Pledge your time with Good Morning Britain's 1 Million Minutes here

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing, said: “Good health is so much more than medicine. There is a lot of evidence that loneliness is as bad for your health as many long term health conditions and GPs have recognised this for decades. So these figures will not come as a surprise to practising health care professionals in the community.”

Breaking these figures down further, 769 of the 1334 surveyed were GPs. 34% of GPs said their time and NHS resources are majorly drained by treating lonely people. While almost a quarter (23%) of GPs, including partners and locums, said they regularly saw patients come to them because they are just lonely.

In addition, one in ten of the GPs queried said loneliness is at epidemic proportions in today's society compared with ten years ago. With 35% of GPs saying loneliness was a much bigger problem in today's society than ten years ago.

Good Morning Britain’s 1 Million Minutes campaign has encouraged viewers to pledge 60 minutes of their time to help a friend, family member or someone in their community who is lonely. This can be done individually or by volunteering with one of the 1 Million Minutes charity partners. Now in its 4th year, to date viewers have pledged more than 128 million minutes.

This year's theme is helping those who are lonely through loss, whether that's bereavement, loss of a job, loss of memory or anything else. GMB are working alongside charities Alzheimer’s Society, Grief Encounter, The Not Forgotten, The Prince’s Trust - working with vulnerable young people to find them jobs and purpose, Silver Line and Re-engage.

And next January, for the first time, GMB will be holding a 1 Million Minutes Awards ceremony.

The awards, hosted by Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard, will be taking place on Thursday 23rd January 2020 at TV Centre studios and Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell will be in the studio today (Thursday Dec 12) to launch the awards and unveil the special Dame Barbara Windsor Award.

The winner will be an individual who is a carer and is going above and beyond to help someone who is older. The nominated person themselves will have suffered loneliness through the work that they do and will be recognised for the selfless act.

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