Today, 14 March, has been chosen as the first ever National Social Prescribing Day.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the East Riding CCG funds Social Prescribing, which is a strong collaborative approach with everyone working together and delivered by the Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, the council’s sport, play and arts service, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and Smile Foundation; the voluntary and community services provider which aims to improve the lives of East Riding residents by addressing the social causes of ill health and wellbeing.
During a pilot, it was shown that significant numbers of people regularly attending GP practices had underlying non-medical issues such as loneliness, isolation and debt-related issues for example that, if dealt with, could reduce reliance on medical interventions or help people better manage existing long-term or complex conditions.
Link workers, based in GP practices, spend time actively listening to patients, helping them identify underlying causes, then together co-design and agree a personalised plan of action.
Where possible, link workers refer the person directly to appropriate local activities or services.
Link workers can spend more time getting to the cause of the issues rather than a GP who has an allotted time.
Where appropriate, Social Prescribing complements traditional medical services and, if necessary, the link worker liaises with the GP to ensure the resident receives a joined-up personalised service.
Where patients lack confidence or need more support to access services, the link worker refers them to a local connector colleague, who contacts the patient and agrees how to implement the plan, supporting them as necessary to access community first local services in villages, towns and rural areas, often working with the voluntary and community sector or a variety of other council services delivered in partnership between public health, leisure services, the sport, play and arts service or museums and libraries.
Social Prescribing does not replace medical services but instead works with them and the patient to identify and deal with underlying issues that hinder the person’s quality of life and health and wellbeing.
It utilises the locally commissioned services to deliver positive outcomes for patients.
This works particularly well for those with complex or long-term conditions who can also be offered help to research and manage their conditions at the council’s libraries.
Referrals are accepted from a variety of sources, including self-referrals.
Anyone wishing to know more can watch the Social Prescribing video at https://youtu.be/mRCCbofNtwI
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