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The Islington NDC (New Deal for Communities) project commissioned Get Well UK to run a similar service to the one we'd run in Haringey. We worked closely with GPs at four surgeries who decided what therapies they wanted and how they wanted them to be made available. As well as a great team of practitioners, patients health improving significantly we also learnt that GPs workloads are reduced by integrating new primary care colleagues and that having a practice manager who is flexible and helpful is one of the best assets you can have on a project like this. Read stories from just a few of the patients referred to this service.

The geographical area of the NDC in Islington is quite a lot bigger than the one in Haringey. We had started off by thinking that Get Well UK services would always be available in NHS primary care settings. We thought this would help patients feel safe, and it would be easier for them. We also thought that it would help the process of integration as NHS staff and the complementary therapists would have a chance to bump into each other and discuss things. Seems we were right about all of these things.

However, one of the local representatives on the NDC Health Committee pointed out that for many people travelling is not an easy thing to do, especially if they are in pain, have mobility problems or are fearful. She was our favourite kind of person, because she pointed out the problem and had a solution – the local community centre which provides services for older people, which had a spare health treatment room and was in the centre of the community we were working in.

We had our first foray into working in another centre. There are pros and cons. Typically community centres are welcoming, clean and not too clinical. These factors can really help. But we do miss the chance for the practitioners to talk to the GPs, and do patients think differently of it? We didn’t find out this time but perhaps we will on another project.