NHS England this week announced a £4.5 billion scheme they describe as ‘social prescribing’ whereby GPs will refer patients with anxiety, depression, diabetes and dementia to activities, including golf, which will get them physically active and engaged in the community. It will treat the causes of conditions such as social isolation and will hopefully lead to GPs prescribing less medication.
A pilot scheme in Newham, East London, which has the highest proportion of physically inactive adults in the country was implemented by West Ham United football club. As part of it, NHS England commissioned West Ham United’s Foundation to provide a walking football programme for the over-50s, and say so far 400 people have successfully completed the 24-week programme, with the average participant’s weekly exercise time growing from 83 to 326 minutes. Golf England have repeatedly promoted the health benefits of golf, let’s hope that it is prescribed to women as well as men.