Community Gardens at REH

Publication: Green Health Prescribing: its role in Lothian’s COVID-19 recovery

NHS Lothian Charity commissioned the Green Health Prescribing Report for Edinburgh & Lothians which was published on 16 June 2021.

What is Green Health Prescribing?

The benefits of connecting to nature for people’s mental and physical health are widely understood. However, those who could most benefit are less likely to have the opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic has both exacerbated this inequality and increased the need for that connection.

Green health prescribing uses the interaction between people and healthcare services to identify those who could benefit most and connect them with nature. Encouraging that connection with nature can occur in a wide range of ways from suggesting a walk in the park, to signposting to local walking and gardening groups, to referral to a formal therapeutic programme. It can take place in blue as well as green spaces.

Our shared vision is for green health prescribing to be embedded across the system, targeted at people who can most benefit, resulting in reduced health inequalities, stronger communities and more valued greenspace.

How can it support a green recovery?

Our Green Health Prescribing Report shares the findings of Lothian’s Green Health Prescribing development project. The project was designed to explore green health prescribing in Lothian: raise its profile, understand barriers and enablers, share success stories and identify what needs to be in place to embed it across the health and care system.

Using a collaborative outcome mapping approach, 200 people from across Lothian and beyond joined the discussions over the seven months of the project. We heard from people with lived experience, a wide range of providers of green and blue health activities, potential prescribers, strategic and policy leads and people responsible for Greenspace in meetings, interviews and a series of interactive workshops.

We found huge enthusiasm for the potential of green health prescribing across the health and care system in Lothian and strong consensus around what needed to be in place which was summarised into five Golden Threads. You can read more about these five Golden Threads in our Green Health Prescribing report below:

Green Health Prescribing Report and Briefing Document

Download the Green Health Prescribing Report (2 MB)

Download the Green Health Prescribing Briefing (141 KB)

Connect to our network to learn and share

If you feel passionately about the benefits of nature and their potential in addressing health inequalities, join our Green Health Network. All you need are a few good ideas, a little time to spare and a willingness to be involved with promoting and supporting green health activities across the Lothians.