Surgery tests social prescribing

Castle Partnership Social prescribingA GP practice in Norwich is trialing a different way of helping some patients, called social prescribing.

A number of patients come to see their doctor or nurse with problems that don’t need medicine. They might be lonely, leading unhealthy lifestyles or have housing problems, for example.

So GPs at Tuckswood surgery are working closely with Age UK Norwich and Community Action Norwich to find better ways of helping them.

They are ‘prescribing’ help such as befriending, community transport, learning and volunteering opportunities, physical activity, parenting courses and support with practical issues such as benefits, housing, debt and employment.

This way the patients are helped to deal with problems they face and are supported to improve their wellbeing. It’s about helping people help themselves, rather than just treating the symptoms.

Dr Tesh Patel from Tuckswood Surgery said: “It is great to be part of this pilot in Norwich which looks at other ways of helping patients that does not involve medication or GP intervention. There is growing evidence that social prescribing is effective. Evidence from similar pilots in the UK suggests it can lead to real changes in people’s lives.”

The social prescribing pilot has been introduced as part of NHS Norwich CCG’s Healthy Norwich programme.

The partners who operate from the GP surgery, Age UK Norwich and Community Action Norfolk, both have a wide network of other local community partners to support successful onward referrals. Community Action Norfolk is providing £5,000 to fund the advice providers.

The Chief Executive of Age UK Norwich, Susan Ringwood, said: “We know that being worried about your housing situation, or feeling isolated can have a direct effect on your health. Helping people to overcome these worries or to improve their sense of wellbeing will help prevent more serious health issues from developing. It makes sense to keep people as mentally and physically well as possible, and social prescribing has been proven to do that.”

There is also additional support from Stonham Homestay, which provides intensive support for those at risk of losing their home and a ‘digital health’ coaching session offering one-to-one on line support for people to manage their long term health condition.

Choose the right NHS service over Christmas

The NHS in Norfolk has issued advice on where to find help if people fall ill or hurt themselves over the holidays.

Self care - make sure you have a well stocked medicine cabinet with painkillers and remedies for tummy upsets together with all of your usual medicines.

Pharmacies - There are pharmacies open every day, including Christmas and Boxing Days. The full list is at

Walk-in centres

Norwich Walk-in Centre is open every day, 365 days of the year between 7am and 9pm. It is in Rouen Road, Norwich, telephone 01603 677500.

Cromer Minor Injuries Unit is open 8am-8pm, in Mill Road, Cromer, telephone 01263 646200

NHS 111 – just phone 111 and you will get through to a well trained operator who can either give you the advice you need, or arrange for you to speak to a clinician. NHS 111 is also the way to ask for an out of ours doctor.

There is a great video to watch which explains everything really well. You can see it at

Stay Well This Winter – make sure you have medicines before Christmas

order meds earlyWith Christmas and New Year fast approaching doctors and pharmacies are reminding people to plan ahead and make sure they have the right medicines to see them through the Christmas holidays whilst only ordering what you need.

Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last through the holiday period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.

Planning ahead like this is very important to help stay well and it also helps the NHS at a time when services are busy.

Norwich schoolchildren star in NHS film

DailyMile Logo Main RGBSchoolchildren in Norwich are the stars of a new film made by the NHS, promoting The Daily Mile.

The youngsters and staff from Trowse and Lakenham Primary Schools helped NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group make the short movie, which can be seen on our website

The Daily Mile is exactly what it says – the school or class goes out and runs for 15 minutes every day at a time of their teacher’s choosing, averaging a mile in this time. It makes everyone fitter and healthier and importantly it refreshes your mind too, improving your focus and concentration.


Norovirus protection for children with good hand hygiene

The NHS is encouraging everyone, particularly children and those visiting hospitals and care homes, to adopt good hand hygiene this winter.

Winter months see the spread of colds, flu and norovirus (sickness and diarrhea) through touching surfaces as we go about our daily business, and then touching our mouths or food that we eat.

Adopting good hand hygiene reduces the risk of spread which is particularly important when we’re visiting friends or relatives in hospital, the elderly at their home or when we’re around very young children.

The best way to wash hands is with soap and warm water, paying attention to fingers, thumbs, under nails and wrists. Drying hands properly is just as important, as damp hands can harbour germs.

Germs can live on some surfaces for hours, meaning they can be easily transferred to others. It’s important that we do all we can to try and protect vulnerable patients in our hospitals, particularly those who may have impaired immunity, as well as those in the community so they don’t end up being admitted. If you see signs asking you to clean your hands before you enter a ward please do so. But getting into the routine of good hand hygiene will help all year round, not just for winter.

Parents are being reminded to make sure little ones are taught how to clean their hands properly, particularly if they’re around grandparents or friends and relatives that are ill.

Good hygiene means:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the bin straight away – don’t save it to re-use later. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water. This will remove the majority of germs, preventing spread to other people. Studies show that hand-washing techniques are often poor and the most commonly neglected areas are the tips of the fingers, palm of the hand, and the thumb.
  • Use alcohol hand rub if you are visiting someone in hospital. This should be rubbed into all areas of the hands, again paying attention to the thumbs, fingertips, between the fingers and the backs of the hands until the hands feel dry. But it’s important to know this won’t help with norovirus – soap and water is best.

For more information about winter illness, visit

New Alliance for Norwich GP Practices

23 GP practices in Norwich have come together in a new alliance, the first of its kind in Norfolk.
It’s called OneNorwich and their aim is to create a stronger GP service and improve care for the 220,000 patients in the city they look after.
The Practices are independent organisations but they will be forging closer links and working more closely together, to ensure services remain sustainable.