GP–STH Social and Therapeutic Horticulture for GPs

This is not just any gardening but an evidence-based method to improve one’s wellbeing and use personal reflections for CPD

We are all under pressure as GPs. This has been shown in both local and national GP surveys.  There is ample published evidence demonstrating that gardening/horticulture in a social setting promotes wellbeing.   So, if ‘green prescriptions’ are good for patients, why not also for over-burdened GPs?   See our Evidence Resources to find out more about the evidence for social and therapeutic horticulture (STH).


New initiative between GP-S and Muddy Fork
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire LMC’s GP support service (GP-S) is funding a pilot GP-STH scheme to promote wellbeing in GPs. Being part of this pilot will allow you not only to experience the restorative effects of nature at first hand but also to provide material for your CPD.
Muddy fork is a new charity delivering STH to a wide group of people. They have considerable experience in delivering restorative horticulture. This is a new initiative where Muddy Fork will work in partnership with GP-S to provide a different kind of CPD, which will help to improve wellbeing in GPs.

Who is it suitable for?
Any GP whether or not you have experience in gardening.
This will provide an opportunity to meet and socialise with colleagues whilst doing something meaningful … and it should be fun!

Where does GP-STH meet?
The owner of the Babworth Estate, Retford (Google map) has very generously made a site within the estate available for our use. Previously the site was a paddock so is uncultivated.  It is rural, with an open aspect and fringed by a wooded area carpeted with snowdrops.
This is an exciting opportunity to create a garden from scratch.  We will progress from clearing the site and exploring its potential to designing and planting a new garden.
We have access to an indoor room, drink-making facilities and indoor toilets.

Who will run the sessions?
Muddy Fork run the sessions. They will provide a horticultural lead and a GP facilitator who will ensure you are able to make appropriate entries into your CPD folder.  Benefits from attending GP-STH that impact positively in the workplace can contribute to your appraisal.

When are the sessions?
The sessions are for 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons every fortnight, from 2-5 pm.
The different days give you flexibility on when you can attend.  It’s not a course, so you don’t need to attend every session.  We hope you will continue coming even when you have achieved your maximum CPD hours as agreed with your appraiser.

What happens when I get there?
Here is a summary of the session format. The content will vary according to the stage of garden development, season and preferences of participants.


Welcome, hot drink, signing in. Health and safety, housekeeping, group rules.


Introductions.  Start to fill CPD template.  Tasks for day discussed and chosen  (heavy, medium or light).


Go outside.  Safe use of tools reminder.  Detailed discussion of each task.   Start horticulture work.  Take breaks whenever needed.


Complete horticulture work.  Tidy tools and admire the work we achieved.


Group discussion inside.  Finish group CPD template, complete any evaluation tools.


Session finishes.   Complete personal reflection component of CPD template at home.

What do I bring on the day?
Outdoor clothes (rain proof) and footwear suitable for gardening
Packed lunch
Gardening gloves if you have them
We will provide gardening hand tools and hot drinks.

What do we need from you?
The pilot of GP-STH is free but to gain benefit we need you to turn up to as many sessions as you can.
We need feedback from you. We use an anonymous feedback format that has been validated and used nationally. Personal feedback from you is also valuable.
We require that you are up to date with tetanus immunisation.

In summary
This GP-STH pilot is the first of its kind in the UK.
We need to think differently as to how we develop and support ourselves as GPs and this may be one of the many ways to do this.

How do I apply?
Please contact Dr. Jill Thompson

Phone   07851146639


We would really appreciate your involvement with this innovative project to promote self care for GPs.