A PIONEERING project which offers more ‘holistic’ care to GP patients in East Lancashire could be expanded to other parts of England.

The Green Dreams Project was set up in Padiham in 2011 to help patients with multiple problems that have a detrimental effect on their physical or mental health.

The scheme has since expanded into Accrington, Burnley, Bacup and Haslingden while founder Dr James Fleming, of Padiham Medical Centre, was last year named Britain’s ‘GP of the Year’.

The latest scheme was launched in Haslingden in June and has since had 40 patients referred by doctors at Haslingden Health Centre. Project leader Edwina Foote said: “We are trying to capture funding for it to be spread across more of Lancashire and there are also talks to run with it in other parts of the country.”

The idea is to tackle the root cause of people’s problems, to avoid GPs being faced with issues which they can do little to solve, which is a waste of NHS resources.

Edwina said: “It’s absolutely the way things need to go, because there is no more money available.

“GPs don’t have the time to spend with patients to get a holistic view of their problems, yet research has shown your health deteriorates when your social and everyday lives are affected.

“We support people who in debt a long time and might be in danger of losing their home, people who need help with agencies such as Jobcentre Plus, or elderly people who need to get out more.

“We help build their confidence to attend day centres, for example.”

Green Dreams is a Community Interest Company which receives funding from the NHS and The Princes Charities.