Helping South Yorkshire patients have their ‘best life’

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Over £800,000 is to be invested in South Yorkshire GPs to provide emotional and practical support for patients.

NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group is investing £821,000 over the next three years on prescribing services for more than just medicine.

It is estimated around a fifth of visits to a GP are linked to problems in people’s lives such as loneliness, debt, housing issues, work, relationships and unemployment, where a prescription for medication often does not help.

The scheme, called My Best Life, will start from April 2017 and will be run by South Yorkshire Housing Association, who run a similar successful scheme in Doncaster.

GPs will be able to put people who have non-medical need in touch with someone from My Best Life team who will talk to them and find out what help or support they need; from money worries and relationship difficulties, to counselling and social groups to tackle loneliness and isolation.

The type of support will vary widely depending on the individual’s needs - from putting people in touch with the local fishing club to getting advice on managing debt.

Phil Parkes, area lead at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “Over 80 per cent of the people we worked with in Doncaster felt more able to manage their health, and felt less isolated and lonely.

“We also saw a 68 per cent drop in repeat visits to GP’s, so we’re confident that we can make a similar impact in Barnsley.”

My Best Life are looking for volunteers to help increase the variety of support available. Visit www.barnsleyccg.nhs.uk.