PATIENTS across Worcestershire will be able to get "books on prescription" later this year as a pilot scheme is rolled out.

Evidence from NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recommends bibliotherapy - reading books which are relevant to an individual's life situation - as a first line treatment for certain conditions including depression, stress, self-esteem issues and anxiety.

Worcestershire Primary Care Trust, in partnership with Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership trust, Worcestershire County Council Public Library Service and Worcestershire Health Libraries, ran a pilot books on prescription scheme in Redditch in 2007.

Patients with suitable conditions were given "prescriptions" for individual books which they could borrow from their local library.

During the eight weeks of the scheme, nearly 50 prescriptions were issued and more than 80 per cent of patients who took part said they would use the service again.

The PCT's health information manager, Susan Pinfold-Brown said: "The pilot was a great success. The scheme was able to help a number of patients and the response from them was terrific.

"Almost everyone liked the scheme and felt they had benefited from it."

The scheme is funded by the PCT, the Public Library Service and Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership Trust.