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Social prescriptions such as Nucleus Arts and Boxing for Parkison's to help reduce GP pressure in Medway

By Rachel Dixon

Charities across the Towns are being used as an alternative to medicine in a bid to reduce pressure on GPs.

Patients who suffer with chronic illnesses are being encouraged to do sports or art instead.

Known as social prescribing, the government scheme hopes to train 1,000 people across the UK to direct people with chronic illnesses to beneficial activities.

One example is the Boxing for Parkinson’s initiative, which holds sessions at St Mary’s Amateur Boxing Club, Street End Road, Chatham.

Organiser and Parkinson’s sufferer Phil Bungay said: “Boxing for Parkinson’s is a non contact sport - it encourages multi-tasking which is something difficult for people with Parkinson’s. Medicine only masks the symptoms of Parkinson’s, whereas boxing for Parkinson’s delays it.”

As well as sports such as walking netball, art classes are also being prescribed.

Patients who suffer from chronic illnesses are being encouraged by GPs to go to Boxing for Parkinson's
Patients who suffer from chronic illnesses are being encouraged by GPs to go to Boxing for Parkinson's

Nucleus Arts, in High Street, Chatham, runs a group called Social Art every Thursday which has helped people with dementia.

Emma Welch said: “We’ve had people along that have early onset dementia. Just by doing something creative, it gives them time out of their normal lives to think about something else for a bit.

“The art session is an all-inclusive class. Everyone can come. You get free art materials, all you have to do is drop in on a Thursday afternoon, there’s no need to book. We also run a class for the over 55s called Young at Art.”

Emma Welch from Nucleus Arts.
Emma Welch from Nucleus Arts.
The group at Nucleus Arts' Social Art class, in High Street, Chatham.
The group at Nucleus Arts' Social Art class, in High Street, Chatham.

Not everyone is convinced.

GP Julian Spinks, of Court View Surgery in Strood, said: “One thousand sounds like a big number but when you look at the population of the UK that’s about one person per 55,000 patients.

“Maybe we can get volunteers to do similar work so it can help people who need advice and help doctors who are short of time. “

For boxing for Parkinson’s email wayne@olmpiaboxing.co.uk.

Contact Nucleus Arts on 01634 812108.

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