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Medics prescribe dose of dance and music in cultural manifesto

Halton Clinical Commissioning Group aims to encourage people to engage with cultural activities as a way to maintain well-being. Photo: Shutterstock
Halton Clinical Commissioning Group aims to encourage people to engage with cultural activities as a way to maintain well-being. Photo: Shutterstock
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An NHS organisation has released a cultural manifesto that pledges to prescribe dance and music to alleviate loneliness and poverty.

Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans NHS services in Cheshire, aims to “put a choir in every care home” and calls for a “paradigm shift” in health care.

HCCG says it aims to reinvent health services by encouraging people to engage with cultural activities instead of focusing solely on medicine.

In the manifesto, it says: “Too many of life’s problems are seen as only amenable to medical treatment. We all too readily turn people into patients.

“Consequently we have all become less adept at making sense of life and death, pain and sickness for ourselves.

“There are no pills for loneliness and poverty but a rich cultural context can help ensure residents are better connected to each other and feel more able to cope.”

The manifesto draws on the example of people with dementia, stating that while there is no cure, people with dementia can learn to live well with what they have through a range of community-based activity such as dance.

Halton CCG adds that community choirs can help people manage asthma by boosting control of breathing and increasing lung capacity, reducing the need for emergency medication and rescue inhalers.


Key manifesto points

  • Acknowledge the power of the spoken and written word to build well-being and aid recovery.
  • Promote singing and music to drive intergenerational connectivity and mental and physical well-being.
  • Working with charity Live Music Now with an ambition to put a choir in every care home – and extend this to schools and workplaces.
  • Promote dance in communities to promote active lives, reduce frailty through enhanced core stability, and combat social isolation.
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