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Library scheme to help residents read their way to better health

4 July 2017

Essex residents can learn how to better understand and manage their long term health conditions by reading books endorsed by medical experts, rather than turning to Dr Google.

Today Essex Libraries, working in partnership with the Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians, has launched a new strand of the acclaimed Reading Well Books on Prescription programme. 

The books will help support people living with long term conditions such as arthritis, bowel conditions, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and stroke, as well as common symptoms including pain and fatigue. 

Backed by Public Health England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Association of Primary Care, as well as other key partners, it is hoped the book programme will help up to 26 million in the country living with a long-term illness.

Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member responsible for Libraries, said: “A recent poll revealed that people are just as likely to use Google or other search engines for health advice as they are to visit their GP.

“However, with a huge amount of misinformation online, this scheme offers people an alternative trusted source.

“The books are chosen by health experts, people coping with the conditions on a day-to-day basis and are endorsed by national health organisations, so they really can help people better understand and confidently self-manage their illnesses.”

The Reading Agency, a national charity inspiring people to read for pleasure and wellbeing, has 28 books on the list.

Long term conditions account for 50% of GP appointments and 70% of hospital bed days.

The collections are available from Monday, 3 July in the following libraries: 

Chelmsford, Colchester, Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Canvey, Clacton, Harlow, Loughton, Rayleigh, Saffron Walden, Witham, Epping, Frinton, Great Tarpots, Hadleigh, Halstead, Harwich, Hockley, Maldon, Rochford, Shenfield, South Benfleet, South Woodham Ferrers, Waltham Abbey and Wickford.