MORE GPs surgeries will be prescribing a dose of social help under a new scheme.

North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group will continue its work with the voluntary sector to roll out “social prescribing” across 17 practices over the next two years.

“Social prescribing” sees staff direct patients to services which improve people’s overall wellbeing, such as community groups or services providing practical or emotional support.

In Colchester, Community360 offers My Social Prescription at Parsons Heath Medical Practice.

The team reviewed some of the ongoing social and community issues affecting patients, for example transport, carers’ support, mental health issues and social isolation.

They set up a weekly outreach service and training for staff.

Community360 was shortlisted for the Social Prescribing Awards in recognition of this work.

The clinical commissioning gropu and Community360 are now rolling out social prescribing at Colchester Medical Practice which includes Wimpole Road Surgery, Shrub End Surgery and Castle Gardens Medical Centre from mid-October.

Pam Green, chief operating officer at the clinical commissioning group, said: “Social prescribing is vital to help our

communities to improve their health and to feel socially included.

“Work with the voluntary sector to support the health and wellbeing of our population is the way forward for primary care.”

The Community360 team will be available from 9am until 11.30am at Wimpole Road on a Monday, Parsons Heath on a Tuesday, Castle Gardens on a Wednesday and Shrub End on a Thursday.

Tracy Rudling, chief executive at Community360, said: “We are delighted to be working with the clinical commissioning group to deliver social prescribing into the additional 17 surgeries over the next two years.

“Our recent nomination and shortlisting for an award bears testament to the dedication and hard work of all of those involved in My Social Prescription.” into Parsons Heath Medical Centre.”