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Cardiff Time Credit

Who are we supporting?

We are supporting Cardiff South West GP Cluster with grant funding of £14,997. This cluster consists of 11 GP practices covering a total population of 65,420. There are areas of high deprivation within the cluster and also a significant elderly population.

What’s the idea?

An opportunity has been identified to test an innovation in social prescribing within the Cardiff South West GP Cluster. Social prescribing is increasingly being used to address low-level depression and anxiety, becoming a well-established method of community referral.

This model will test how a Time Credit community currency can be combined with social prescribing to bring additional benefit to patients. Time Credits are a well-established community currency that enables an asset-based approach to community development and encourages active citizenship via earning and spending in the Time Credit network.

Why is this important?

The challenge is national and global: the World Health Organisation estimates that mental health accounts for 20 per cent - the highest - of the overall burden of disease and that depression is the third largest.

At £200.87 per head mental health is the largest area of NHS expenditure in Wales, with anxiety and depression representing the most frequently encountered mental illness among the general population.

How are they hoping to save money and improve services?

Social prescribing provides a tool to support GPs in the holistic care of patients and allows patients to find alternative support for psychosocial problems, releasing time for GPs and improving overall access to primary care, as well as reducing the amount of medication prescribed.

The project will open up new opportunities for patients to become active within their community, as well as giving them an important resource to spend on health and wellbeing activity. In the Cardiff Time Credit programme the impact evaluation in 2017 found that:

  • 88 per cent report improved quality of life
  • 26 per cent report improved mental health
  • 71 per cent feel less isolated and lonely
  • 21 per cent are more physically active
  • 71 per cent feel more positive about their future.

(Spice, 2017)