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18.03.2019

Conservation and Social Prescription: Icon Statement on NHS Long Term Plan

Icon has issued a statement highlighting the cultural heritage sector’s potential to support health and social care services in response to ambitions outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS Long Term Plan is a new plan developed by NHS bodies to improve the quality of patient care and health outcomes. The plan states that “within five years over 2.5 million more people will benefit from ‘social prescribing,’ a personal health budget, and new support for managing their own health in partnership with patients’ groups and the voluntary sector.”

Icon agrees with the holistic approach to health and firmly believes in the potential of arts and cultural heritage to be integrated within a social prescription scheme. The UK conservation sector comprises several public and civil society organisations that could be mobilised to deliver the many benefits of arts and cultural heritage to health. Engaging with cultural heritage can nurture a sense of identity, support social connections and build people’s skills and confidence, helping individuals to mitigate and prevent health challenges and create stronger communities. 

We hope recognition of the value of the arts and cultural sector as a partner for social prescribing will continue to grow and be supported through frameworks such as the NHS Long Term Plan. However, social prescription should not be a replacement to primary care for those who require it. The safe delivery of programmes will depend on the social welfare input of any prescription scheme being provided by health personnel with qualified professional backgrounds.

Icon’s statement was written with the Policy Advisory Panel.

Read the full statement here.

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Image: Creative Commons

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