A London-based practice manager will vie with three other regional winners for a national NHS award, it has been announced.
Brian Dickens, a practice manager at Parchmore Medical Centre in Croydon, Surrey was chosen among hundreds of applicants as a regional champion in the Excellence in Primary Care category.
He is one of the four candidates who could receive the national award in this category at the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on 4 July, a day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.
Mr Dickens was commended for the work he has done in developing a social prescribing programme in North Croydon.
His work brought the community closer together, not only allowing people to better manage their health by joining fitness classes on ‘prescription’ but also offering a range of activities such as gardening – according to NHS Croydon clinical commissioning group (CCG).
Mr Dickens was shortlisted just a few days before the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) launched a campaignto tackle loneliness and isolation by encouraging GP practices to introduce a social prescriber.
To give an example of the impact Mr Dickens’ social prescribing had on patients’ wellbeing, the Croydon CCG said: ‘One gentleman was overweight and spoke about being lonely to his GP.
‘After being ‘prescribed’ and attending regular exercise classes, he has lost three stone and now rides his bike with friends to and from events.’
‘A credit to his local community’
Mr Dickens said: ‘Getting the activities up and running has been a real team effort and I’m really pleased that so many people have benefitted from all the activities that are available and that we’re seeing residents make positive steps to better health.
‘I’m looking forward to sharing what we’ve done with colleagues in Croydon to support setting up similar schemes elsewhere.’
A final stage of judging by a panel including the leaders of Royal Colleges, the Unison trade union, and the Patients Association will precede the awards ceremony in July.
Local Labour MP Steve Reed, who nominated Mr Dickens for the award said he is proud that the practice manager’s work will be recognised at a national level.
He added: ‘He is a credit to his local community, to Croydon and to London.
‘Brian is a true trailblazer; his work has not only improved the health and wellbeing of residents, he has broken down barriers and brought diverse communities together.’
Picture credit: ChrisTaylorPhotography