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Bogdan Chiva Giurca met HRH Prince Charles in London

Medicine student meets Prince Charles to advocate social prescribing

Medicine student Bogdan Chiva Giurca from the University of Exeter Medical School has met HRH The Prince of Wales to champion a new social prescribing project aiming to expand the options available in GP consultations.

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients in primary care with sources of support, often using services provided by the voluntary and community sector. It provides GPs with a non-medical referral option that can operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing. The aim is to direct patients to certain services which in term will help them become more confident and manage their own condition.

Bogdan helped launched the scheme on May 18 and introduced it to leaders from all over the UK including The Prince at an event in London.

Bogdan said: “Social prescribing has really exciting potential to take a personalised approach to enable people to be confident in managing their own condition. It was a real honour to meet Prince Charles and I’m delighted that he’s taking an interest in this work.

As medical students, we represent key players in this new and exciting initiative to change the future of how we deliver healthcare in this country. We represent the doctors of tomorrow, the future of innovative concepts such as Social Prescribing, and such concepts should be understood from an early stage.”

Dr Michael Dixon, National Clinical lead for Social Prescription (NHS England), Chair of the College of Medicine, and Co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network UK said: “It is a major press message that our “student revolution” has created Social Prescribing champions in more than two thirds of the medical schools in the UK, before Social Prescribing is even on GP postgraduate courses, let alone undergraduate ones. A message that young, enthusiastic brains are challenging a system that must look much more energetically towards the future.”

Social Prescribing has the potential to reduce the over-prescription of certain drugs, such as the prescriptions for diabetes and blood pressure. By encouraging prediabetic patients to become proactive in taking decisions for their own health and by helping them engage in healthy lifestyle activities, it reduces the long-term need of prescribing drugs for this group of patients. By supporting an individual to increase their levels of “activation”, they are less likely to have chronic issues in the long-term. Patients who are placed at the centre of their own disease and take responsibility of their own health brings associated economic benefits and a reduction in strain on health care services.

With the support of NHS England, the College of Medicine, and the Social Prescribing Network UK, 32 students nationwide are involved in the new project and will be linked with their regional Social Prescribing healthcare leaders, giving them the opportunity to undergo placements and write up their findings. Each student will introduce the concept of Social Prescribing to their medical school and will present their experience to their peers at an annual conference to celebrate the completion of the role.

Date: 26 June 2017

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