Trainee GPs encouraged to prescribe a bigger dose of nature - Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) are piloting training sessions for trainee GPs on why connecting patients to nature is good for their health and well-being.

Two adults and a child walking through a woodland (credit NRW)
Two adults and a child walking through a woodland (credit NRW)

Evidence and research from around the world shows that spending time in the natural environment has many health and well-being benefits.

People are often more active outdoors, which can guard against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and improve core muscle strength and balance. Daylight increases Vitamin D in the body, which regulates mood and prevents bone problems. The immune system also benefits from exposure to microbes found in soil, with studies showing a reduced rate of asthma in children exposed to ‘farm-like’ bacteria.

The natural environment is good for the mind too. For people living with dementia, being outside engages the senses, sparks memories, and lifts mood which may slow their symptoms.

Connecting to nature also benefits the environment by helping to prevent the loss of environmental knowledge over time. For future generations to value and protect nature and its resources, environmental knowledge and understanding needs to be passed down through the generations.

To demonstrate the health and well-being benefits of being in the natural environment, NRW has been working in partnership with HEIW to deliver a pilot training session on the value of nature to the GP Training Programme Directors in Wales.

This session was piloted with trainee GPs at the Nevil Hall Postgraduate Centre in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, as part of their curriculum. Trainee GPs were taken outdoors to experience nature-based activities in the hospital grounds as well as discussing the evidence about how nature supports health and well-being and how that can improve patient care.

The organisations will continue to work together to explore ways to include the positive impact of the natural environment on health and well-being in the trainee GP curriculum in Wales.

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Posted On: 28/07/2022

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