GPs cement support for the arts in healthcare

A survey of more than 1,000 GPs, carried out on behalf of social enterprise Aesop, shows that an increasing proportion of GPs believes that taking part in arts activities can prevent ill health and save the NHS money.   

The Arts in Health survey revealed:

  • Across the UK 74% of GPs said public engagement with the arts can make a significant contribution to the prevention agenda. In Wales the figure increased to 87%;
  • 54% of GPs agreed that arts-based interventions can be a cost-effective way to deliver primary care to the public to improve health outcomes;
  • 72% agree that public engagement with the arts can make a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of the NHS workforce, up 10 percentage points from 2018 (62%).

Dr Michael Dixon, NHS England Clinical Champion for Social Prescribing, Chair of the College of Medicine and former President of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “This reveals a massive culture change in a very short time. It shows that my fellow GPs have quickly recognised the power of the arts to benefit patients, reduce calls on the NHS and stop the prescribing of ever more drugs.”

Aesop’s Chief Executive and Founder Tim Joss said he was “delighted” by the results of its second Arts in Health GP survey. He added: “The results are extremely encouraging, showing that there has been a significant increase in the number of GPs that believe the arts make an important and valued contribution to the public’s health and wellbeing.”

Commenting on the results of the survey, Lord Howarth, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing said: "Efforts by the arts in health movement to educate and persuade medical professionals are clearly bearing fruit and will help ensure that the arts are central in the development of social prescribing.”