The government’s Loneliness Strategy is published today.
The strategy highlights bereavement as a trigger for feelings of loneliness.
As part of the strategy, the Prime Minister confirmed all GPs in England will be able to refer patients experiencing loneliness to community activities and voluntary services by 2023.
Three quarters of GPs surveyed have said they are seeing between one and five people a day suffering with loneliness, which is linked to a range of damaging health impacts, like heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. Around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.
The practice known as ‘social prescribing’ will allow GPs to direct patients to community workers offering tailored support to help people improve their health and wellbeing, instead of defaulting to medicine.