Social prescribing allows GPs to offer activities and support for older people. They just need to know what’s available
We seem rather short of the older generation.” The remark was made by the chair of a meeting I attended last month of an old people’s network, organised by the county council adult care department, where I was indeed the only representative of the older generation. The other 30 or so people were from agencies and charities engaged with the crumbly generation.
The atmosphere was pungent with well-meaningness. The format was presentations followed by questions, culminating in around the table reports, by which time there was a certain restlessness, which put silent pressure on the final few to be brief. There is clearly an art in seat selection on such occasions if you want a decent hearing. The main item was “social prescription”. It takes its format from medical prescription, where you go to the doctor, explain your symptoms and leave with a piece of paper containing the name of a drug. Its “social” sibling would go through the same process, with care as well as health agencies, the piece of paper prescribes an activity, facility, or support group. In theory, an exciting idea but one which, as a potential client, living and working among existing clients, I felt obliged to challenge.