The Daily Telegraph

Plant a tree or take a walk, pa­tients in hotspots to be told

- By Emma Gat­ten EN­VI­RON­MENT EDITOR

THE Gov­ern­ment is to roll out green pre­scrib­ing on the NHS in four of the coun­try’s most Covid-af­fected ar­eas.

The £4 mil­lion scheme is a pi­lot for plans to give pa­tients pre­scrip­tions to plant trees or take coun­try­side walks to help tackle men­tal health and the worst ef­fects of the pan­demic. If suc­cess­ful, they will be scaled up across the coun­try in the hope of eas­ing the bur­den on the NHS and tack­ling the obe­sity cri­sis.

Pa­tients could be given pre­scrip­tions to join walk­ing and cy­cling groups in na­tional parks or beauty spots, out­door gyms or take up gar­den­ing.

Ev­i­dence from Nat­u­ral Eng­land shows that the NHS could save more than £2 bil­lion in treat­ment costs if ev­ery­one in Eng­land had equal ac­cess to good qual­ity green space. The pi­lots will fo­cus on ar­eas with poor health out­comes.

Re­becca Pow, an en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, said: “We know that con­nect­ing with na­ture is good for us, and the pan­demic has given us an even greater aware­ness of the link be­tween our own health, and that of our en­vi­ron­ment.”

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