North East Medical Group turns to K9 Wag Friendship Therapy!
A North East medical group of GPs is taking an innovative approach to fighting loneliness and boosting mental wellbeing in its community.
Railway Medical Group is using ‘dog therapy’ with some of its elderly patients they believe may be helped by regular visits from ‘man’s best friend.’
The Blyth-based practice, with around 28,000 patients in the area, has partnered with regional charity Wag & Company to trial a new service with some of its patients.
Michaela Critchley, social prescriber at Railway Medical Group, explained: “Our prescribing team identified a real need for the brilliant service of Wag & Company within the local Blyth community. After speaking to patients, we saw an opportunity for those who suffer with social isolation, loneliness and those of a certain age who miss their canine friends and would not be able to care for a dog of their own.
“Our staff here at Railway and Wag & Company share the belief that ‘the best therapist has fur and four legs!’ and that combatting loneliness in the community should be everyone’s goal.”
Railway Medical Group has chosen to support Wag & Company by becoming a Corporate Friend of Wag enabling two special Visiting Wag Teams in their local community for 12 months with a donation of £800 by the Practice Partners.
Michaela added: “Our social prescribing team will now be able to organise and offer Wag & Company visits to patients in their own homes and those living in local care homes as well as having planned events and visits here in the surgery throughout the year.
“Social prescribers play a key role in connecting people to appropriate support services and organisations. With the help of our new fury friends at Wag & Co, we feel we are on the right path to tackling social isolation among some of our most vulnerable patients.”
Diane Morton, founder and CEO of Wag & Company, said: “We’re so grateful to the Railway Medical Group, the first GP practice to join us as a Friend as part of their community health and social prescribing strategy.
“It’s wonderful to see an organisation like theirs who see first-hand the unique impact of our services, helping to finance them. Taking such a proactive approach to addressing isolation in their local community will make a significant difference to people’s lives.
“We never charge for fear of people in need missing out, so our Friends of Wag supporters scheme enables individuals, companies and care establishments to chip in to help us provide these special friendships all across the North East, long into the future.”
For more details about Wag & Company and how to become a Corporate Friend visit: www.wagandcompany.co.uk/friends