Sam Dick, Director of Campaigns at the Campaign to End Loneliness, said:

“We welcome the RCGP’s calls to tackle the loneliness epidemic. Loneliness is a looming social crisis and needs a joined-up, robust approach to tackle it, as set out in the RCGP’s manifesto and community action plan.Our research found that three-quarters of GPs report seeing between one and five lonely people a day. We are therefore delighted to see the RCGP call for widespread public action on loneliness. It is the responsibility of us all to take action; from people, to businesses, to local services, to charities, to government.

“We also welcome the RCGP’s emphasis on the health impacts of loneliness. We know we should eat well and exercise regularly; we also need to know that our social connections are vital for good health too. Our new public movement, Be More Us (supported by Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard) focuses on the value of small moments of connection, such as saying hello to someone on the bus or making small talk at the shop. These are an important part of tackling loneliness and are something that we can all easily take part in.

“We support the RCGP’s call to have social prescribers in GP surgeries. We need to make the most of the time a lonely adult spends at the GP surgery, to prevent chronic loneliness. Tackling the stigma of loneliness is a vital part of this too; our research found that more than half of British adults (56%) say admitting to loneliness is difficult. The more we talk about loneliness, the more we break down the stigma. We are delighted to see the RCGP adding their voice to the efforts to end loneliness.”