A SCHEME to help alleviate some of the social problems surrounding ill health is being put forward for Ilkley and the surrounding area.

Work is underway to launch a social prescribing system where doctors and communities work together to help people deal with issues such as loneliness, depression and housing problems. Under the new scheme, proposed for Ilkley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Addingham and Silsden, GPs would be able to refer patients to a social prescribing link worker who would give help and advice on a myriad of issues which affect people’s wellbeing.

The scheme is being put forward by Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, which has set up three groups to get it off the ground.

Burley-in-Wharfedale GP Dr Caroline Rayment is working to get the scheme up and running in this area and on Monday she asked Ilkley Parish Council to give its support.

Dr Rayment told councillors the idea was to change from a purely medical system to a health care system that involved the community. Social prescribing would be an important part of this.

She told the meeting that research into well-being showed that only 30 per cent was down to health and the remaining 70 per cent was about someone’s “life journey” and how they were affected by issues such as depression, housing, and loneliness.

She is hoping to bring together all the voluntary services to help with the scheme and she is asking for community support and recognition for the project from the parish council. The scheme would also need a base for the link worker.

At the moment the Ilkley group is only small but Dr Rayment is hoping to bring all the local surgeries on board.

She told the meeting help available for people currently was patchy.

She added: “What we don’t want is lots of little bits of patchy schemes. We want something valley wide. “

Councillors stressed the important work which was already being done by a number of groups in the town, tackling problems including isolation and loneliness. They gave their unanimous backing to the social prescribing scheme and decided to review the situation again in September.