The Duchess of Cornwall visited Frome Medical Centre today (Wednesday 30 January 2019), where she saw first-hand the work of the Frome community through groups and volunteers joining together to support one another. Through this approach, the whole town has grown in capability to respond with humanity to friends, neighbours and fellow residents and make the town a better place for all. This approach is known as Compassionate Frome: the Frome model of enhanced primary care.
During the visit, Her Royal Highness met a variety of groups who provide services to the community, including the Health Connectors and volunteer Community Connectors, members of The Hub, which was set up by the Practice to identify patients who might benefit from this approach, as well as other local support groups and services. She also met with members of the Talking Café and chatted with them over a cup of coffee.
Frome Medical Centre Senior GP Partner Dr Helen Kingston, set up the project with Jenny Hartnoll, Service Lead for Health Connections Mendip (HCM) in 2013.
Dr Kingston said: “We recognised that wellbeing is more than simply the absence of disease. Loneliness and isolation can exacerbate and lead to health problems. Relationships matter to us all. We set up Compassionate Frome to connect people to support networks, groups and services throughout Mendip.
“We mapped out the services on offer in Mendip and recruited a team of Health Connectors to signpost people to area services including, among others, hearing loss support, exercise classes and befriending services. Gaps in services were identified and the Health Connections team worked with our community to address these unmet needs. They were able to set up talking cafes and support groups for people with specific health issues such as dementia, COPD and Macular Degeneration.
“As a result of our focus on wellbeing and building capability and networks of support we have observed the benefits this brings to health with a reduction in emergency hospital admissions.”
Others who met Her Royal Highness were some of the Couch to 5k runners who were preparing to embark on their run. This running course targets people who have mild anxiety or depression and aims to combine mental health as well as the physical benefits that come with exercising. She also met some of our health walkers just returning from a walk, which they do to help combat isolation and have the chance to make friends.
In addition, there was special recognition for Mr Gerald Franks who set up the Frome and District day centre lunch club in 2000. The club offers a hot meal and friendship to older people who are unable to cook and take care of themselves. The Duchess of Cornwall presented him with an award in recognition of his service to the community.