The first large-scale project prescribing vouchers to patients with diet-related health issues and food insecurity to buy fruit and vegetables has been launched in London.
The 12-month project is being partnered with public health teams in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Lambeth, where chronic disease is at high rates. The vouchers, which can be spent at local retailers and markets, will be distributed to a target group of 122 residents who are at risk of, or have, high blood pressure, diabetes, or mental health conditions, for instance, and are struggling financially. The vouchers are already used by the Alexandra Rose Charity to help families with young children on low incomes to buy fresh produce.
Bromley by Bow GP Sam Everington, who also chairs the NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A healthy diet can often achieve far more than any medicines I can prescribe. Therefore, fruit and veg prescriptions are essential in reversing and preventing many illnesses.”
When the pilot is evaluated, it could be rolled out across the UK subject to funding.
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