A GP surgery in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas has been recognised for taking a pioneering approach to improving the health of patients by "prescribing" yoga and cooking classes.

The Garscadden Burn Medical Practice in Drumchapel, Glasgow, helps patients take part in activities to tackle issues such as loneliness, depression, high blood pressure and weight problems. A befriending group was set up to support patients who raised the issue of loneliness with their doctor, which has involved yoga sessions and making cards for the surgery to send out to the recently bereaved.

A second group also meets weekly with the practice nurse for assistance with making lifestyle changes, which includes yoga, cookery classes, gym sessions and advice on stress management.

And weekly yoga sessions are held in the waiting room of the surgery for staff who want to take part as a way to improve their own wellbeing. Garscadden Burn has now been named as Practice of the Year in annual awards given by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Scotland.

Dr Peter Cawston, partner at the practice, said the groups had made a huge difference to some of the participants. “One lady in the befriending group for example, stuttered so much she avoided social interaction,” he said. “We had a lunch last week and it was great to see her holding an animated conversation.”

He added: “I don’t think we are trying to be a radically different GP practice. But it is a feeling we are able to make more of a difference to people’s lives than we were before.”

Leanne McBride, 33, who attends the lifestyle change group and has previously suffered from depression, said: “I have been learning yoga which is amazing – it has been teaching me how to breathe properly. When I am out and about in the street and feel stress coming on, I automatically relax and do the yoga breathing, so I find my stress levels don’t rise so much.

“I have been shown how to use a treadmill for the first time – I’m not running marathons but I am walking on it. It is amazing for my mental health. But I think the most important thing is learning about food – I didn’t realise how many additives were in jars of sauces and your dips, they are full of salt and sugar. I am now buying my own ingredients and making my own foods.”

Dr Miles Mack, chair of RCGP Scotland, said: “Dr Peter Cawston and his team have led the way in showing what a practice can offer to its community in times of real stress on the system. They have broadened what they can provide and worked together to build what is a truly inspiring resource for the people of Drumchapel.”