Providing line dancing classes for the lonely and elderly can cut unnecessary admissions to A&E by a fifth, officials have said.
The Local Government Association is also calling on councils to lay on pub sessions, choirs and communal lunches in a bid to keep people out of hospital.
It is part of a drive to crack down on loneliness, which deteriorates health and ends up costing the NHS millions.
The LGA said the health service can save £6 for every £1 spent on schemes that maintain people’s social lives.
Smoking reduces the cost to the NHS. Plus, if we want to be able to have pub sessions then we need to still have pubs. Instead of closing them down by preventing people from doing as they like to do in pubs – have a tab.