Prescription of a different kind can make all the difference in Oban

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Pills and drugs will soon be only part of the treatment when you visit your GP as the Health and Social Care Partnership wants people to use exercise and other social prescriptions to deal with health matters.

A prescription of exercise involves GPs and practice nurses linking people with opportunities to be physically active and mentally alert in their own communities.

In Oban, the service Lorn and Oban Healthy Options (LOHO) does this. Proving that not only does exercise benefit physical health, it also improves mental wellbeing, by boosting confidence, motivation and self-esteem.

Recommending exercise is a form of social prescribing. This is the term used to describe sources of practical support. This might be the carers centre for a new carer. It could be the volunteer centre for those who are lonely. And for people in debt, the Citizens Advice Bureau can help.

The Health and Social Care Partnership in Argyll and Bute is interested in getting health professionals to use social prescribing more.

Elaine Garman, public health specialist, said: ‘We are doing this because it will ensure people with problems impacting on their health get the right help for these problems. It will also ensure stretched GPs are able to focus on what they do best – that is, treating people who are ill.

‘We all have a responsibility to look after our own health but there is help around to support you to do that.

‘There is a local information system for Scotland (ALISS) which is an online index of health and wellbeing resources.

‘This will direct people to support services, groups, classes, volunteering opportunities and a wide range of other resources.

‘Life is hard. Life is stressful. Things like relationship breakdown, housing problems, debt or feeling lonely and isolated all contribute to that feeling of stress.

‘It might also be if we are a carer for a relative or becoming a new parent. But sometimes it is lots of little things that are more difficult to put our finger on that lead to that pressure.

‘If you or someone you know has a social problem or is living with anxiety or stress, then have a look at the ALISS directory to find local help at www.aliss.org.’