A pioneering health project, which has helped hundreds of elderly people in Bridlington, is in the running for a national award.
The Easycare Pathfinder Project is the biggest of its kind to be carried out in the country.
It aims to look at alternative ways of helping the over 75s, to cut down on the amount of prescribed drugs that are dished out.
Using the theory ‘wealth equals health’, one of the project’s major achievements is unlocking £400,000 of previously unclaimed benefits.
Dr Mike Hardman is executive chair of Brid Inc, a group of doctors from around Bridlington which has carried out the work.
He said: “We are enormously proud. We have forged partnerships and now have a huge network of groups involved.
“It’s really important for Bridlington to be recognised and this is for all the people who have been involved.
“It also helps to raise awareness and that will help us to get funding so we can do more in Bridlington.
“It is a holistic way of doing things. When it is done well, it delays the need for care by about two years.
That will have a huge impact on care costs and imagine what would happen if this was done nationally. There would be significant savings.”
At the start of the project, 1,400 elderly people in Bridlington took part in a survey
“We wanted to identify health and care needs in Bridlington and what we found was that the main problem was loneliness and worries about caring and being cared for,” said Dr Hardman.
That led to them accessing the £400,000 in benefits to help local people but there is more to the porject than the financial side of things.
Instead of simply dishing out more and more drugs, the scheme has looked at other ways to improve Bridlington residents’ health and wellbeing.
Dr Hardman added: “We have set up groups like Men In Sheds. We know loneliness among older bereaved men is terrible, they don’t have the resilience that women do.
“They just go along to a shed and have a chat with other men in the same position as them.
“We have also compiled a directory of all the activities in Bridlington.
“One person said ‘I miss creative writing’ and we were able to put them in touch with a group.
“Others who suffer from bodily pain, we have sent them to activity and movement classes.”
Its success has led to it being shortlisted for an award at the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards, which are due to be held in London tonight (Wednesday).
The awards are designed to recognise cutting-edge innovations and the finest achievements in the NHS.