What is Social Prescribing?
Social Prescribing was introduced into the NHS in 2019 to support those with long-term health conditions to find extra support and guidance outside of NHS services. This is done by a Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW) who takes time to address mental and physical health concerns in a holistic way. In other words, focussing on the needs of the whole person, and what matters to them.
In Haringey, we have a team of 11 dedicated Social Prescribing Link Workers, managed by Public Voice and supported by a Senior Social Prescriber. They each work from GP practices across the borough to focus on what matters to individual patients and working with them to achieve their version of a healthy, happy, life.
The friendly team create and develop relationships with local voluntary and statutory services, and work with the individual to decide what type of social prescription would be of most benefit to them.
The overall aim of Social Prescribing, is to reduce pressure on medical staff across the NHS, improve people’s lives through better access to care and help reduce health inequalities.
Benefits of Social Prescribing
- Reducing health inequalities.
- Informing local people about the support they can access across their communities.
- Making informed referrals to health and social care agencies.
- Giving people the time to talk about their health concerns and feel heard.
- Reducing pressures across NHS services.
- Building better community resilience.
Positive Feedback from Social Prescribing in Haringey
Daughter of a patient who was supported by a SPLW:
The Social Prescriber has gone above and beyond to support my father and myself emotionally and physically. She makes it her business to make sure we are ok and checks in to see how my father and his health and other issues are going, she also points us in the right direction and chases up referrals etc. She is AMAZING and I don't know what I would’ve done without her.
GP at a practice in Haringey:
The Social Prescribing role is an excellent asset to our surgery.
I have often been presented with patients’ challenging social problems, such as how to apply for benefits, and finding social housing. I would not know how to advise these patients appropriately and I’ve been really grateful to have our SPLW as a colleague to whom I can direct them to. This not only helps me; by allowing more time to deal with medical problems, but it also helps the patients, as they can be put in contact with an expert in dealing these issues (who would be a lot more helpful than myself as a junior doctor).
Moreover, the SPLW is an exceedingly kind and warm person, who genuinely cares and has time to listen. She is easy to contact and a fantastic colleague. Most importantly, she provides direction for patients who may struggle to navigate life’s difficulties. This is a massive gift to the community.
From a patient:
This great and successful result would have not been possible without having a Social Prescriber assigned to the family. We cannot thank the Social Prescriber enough for their kind help and support that they have offered to our family.