Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Pioneering partnership between NHS Shetland and RSPB Scotland allows GPs to ‘prescribe’ nature to patients

Post Thumbnail

A prescription of fresh air is on offer in Shetland thanks to an innovative collaboration between the health board and the RSPB.

GPs in Shetland are now able to “prescribe” nature to their patients thanks to a pioneering partnership project between NHS Shetland and RSPB Scotland.

It is believed the project is the first of its kind in the UK and it  has been extended following a successful pilot.

From this week, all of Shetland’s GPs will be able to prescribe nature as part of their patient’s treatment.

>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter

The successful pilot, which took place at Scalloway surgery last year, has led to the roll out of “Nature Prescriptions” to all ten GP surgeries across the islands.

A spokeswoman for RSPB Scotland said: “Nature prescriptions recognise the benefits of nature on reducing blood pressure, reducing anxiety and increasing happiness as well as the growing disconnection with nature throughout society.

“We have produced a leaflet and a calendar of seasonal activities using local knowledge and understanding of connecting people with nature.

“It attempts to provide a greater variety of ways to realise the health benefits that nature can provide regardless of health condition, confidence or if you are a sociable or more solitary person. The leaflet will be handed out at each doctor’s discretion.”

Dr Chloe Evans, a GP at Scalloway Health Centre, said: “I want to take part because the project provides a structured way for patients to access nature as part of a non-drug approach to health problems.

“The benefits to patients are that it is free, easily accessible, allows increased connection with surroundings which hopefully leads to improved physical and mental health for individuals”.

Karen MacKelvie is a Community Engagement Officer for RSPB Scotland. She said: “It’s been a delight to work in partnership with GPs on this and it’s great for us because we get to help connect people with nature that we wouldn’t normally see at our reserves, events or on our guided walks. Helping people connect with nature is a great way to inspire them to protect it.”

While there are no existing plans to roll the nature prescriptions scheme out more widely, RSPB Scotland said it would be delighted if the success of the pilot scheme led others to adopt it.

TV doctor prescribes the outdoors 

Camping, caravan and motorhome holidays can encourage people outdoors and towards a potentially healthier lifestyle, says TV’s Dr Hilary Jones.

Dr Hilary Jones.

An advocate of preventative measures in support of good health, Dr Hilary says there’s many aspects of camping and leisure vehicle activities that support both mental and physical well-being.

Speaking ahead of the Birmingham Motorhome and Caravan Show where he is appearing, Dr Hilary said: “Two out of five GP consultations today are concerned with mental health.”

“More people are finding it difficult to manage psychological issues. We also have an obesity epidemic and problems with type-two diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and I am very opposed to prescribing medication when lifestyle changes could make such a difference.

“Being outside and fresh air is quite simply good for us: most people don’t realise that indoor pollution is considerable, and even worse than outdoor. Spending lots of time indoors means an accumulation of the symptoms of modern living, such as dust and chemicals. Our grandparents were right when they said, ‘throw the windows open’!

“I hear many people say that when they have a nice day outside, they feel less stressed, less anxious and more positive in general.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in