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Surgery aims to pioneer 'social prescribing' to steer patients from pills to pastimes

A rural medical centre is aiming to turn patients away from pills and towards pastimes like dominoes, draughts and dancing.

Staff at the Over Wyre Medical Centre, thought of creating a special room at the site in Preesall, Lancashire, to kick-start the project.

Dominoes are one of the ''social prescriptions'' on offer Credit: ITV Granada

Social Prescribing involves helping patients improve their health and wellbeing by encouraging them to try out activities which may benefit them - outside of traditional NHS treatments.

For example, someone living with depression might be connected with a dance group, choir or chess club, in addition to being treated with standard medication.

The initiative involves providing a designated Community Room within the Practice at Preesall. Dr Vicky Simpson, GP partner at Over Wyre Medical Centre, said: “We have named it ‘The Front Room’.

''With a northern name and a homely environment, The Front Room is our very own community space at Over Wyre Medical Centre. We realise that there are a vast amount of services and resources across the Fylde Coast that are not always easily accessible for the patients of Over Wyre Medical Centre.

''The doctors would like to bring these facilities to our doorstep and therefore we have come up with the concept of The Front Room. Social Prescribing will work for a wide range of people, including patients with one or more long-term conditions, who are lonely or isolated or who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.''