Drop-in clinics are being held by GPs for anyone to get on-the-spot help to lead healthier lives on top of any medical needs.

They are being run by an NHS practice in Barking to help solve “health inequality” in the population.

The outreach clinics were started by staff from the Aurora Medcare GP practice volunteering at Barking’s Thames View health centre in Bastable Avenue.

The first four sessions seeing 1,300 people had GPs, paramedics, nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists and social prescribers meeting anyone just dropping in.

“These clinics are helping people lead healthier lives,” Aurora Medcare's Dr Jagan John explained. “A critical part of addressing health inequalities in the community involves people being ‘self-empowered’ and taking action to prevent illness.

“We’ve encouraged people to use local health and social services and community groups to help manage their needs, which in turn allows GPs to focus more on those with medical problems.”

The drop-in clinics are run by GP practice staff who give up their time voluntarily, either on their day off or as overtime.

“That shows how committed they are,” Dr John added. “Their willingness is to give back to the community.”

The clinics were started after meetings with community and religious groups in Barking to match a growing demand from patients often with non-medical issues but still needing to see the doctor for help with things like diets and healthier living to prevent illness or mental stress.

Advice was given on issues like foodbanks, mental health, fitness, children’s activities, debt and finances, cookery, walking groups and bereavement support. People with medical concerns were directed to Thames View GP practice.

But the drop-in sessions have also helped GPs understand better what their patients need to create healthier, preventative lifestyles.

More free monthly clinics are being set up on Fridays, on August 11 at the Thames View centre, September 8 at the Rivergate Centre in Minter Road and October 13 back at the Thames View centre, all 12-6pm and open to anyone.

Aurora Medcare was formed by a merger of King Edward’s and Thames View medical groups which have been operating in Barking for more than 100 years.