Social Prescribing is a tool which ‘links patients in primary care and their carers with non-medical sources of support within the community. It is tailor-made for Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) led interventions and can result in: better social and clinical outcomes for people and their carers (Sheffield Hallam)
Social prescribing is defined as “a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector.” OPM
Why is Social Prescribing needed?
The Marmot Review identified in the 2010 review of health inequalities that around 70% of health outcomes are determined by social factors, and just 30% by clinical interventions.
GPONLINE recently reported (2015) on the comments of Jeremy Hunt ‘that a significant part of a GP’s time is spent on seeing patients with social problems, such as debt, isolation, housing’ however a significant proportion of GP’s do-not know about, or do-not have the time to access services that tackle social problems (commonly voluntary and community sector activities). ‘We need to empower general practice by breaking down the barriers with other sectors, whether social care, community care or mental health providers, so that social prescribing becomes as normal a part of your job as medical prescribing is today’, said. Jeremy Hunt.
So what is VANL doing on behalf of the local voluntary sector and the people of North Lincolnshire?
Carole Phillips and Trudy Norris have been talking to the Clinical Commissioning group for some time, about developing a Social Prescribing programme for North Lincolnshire. We have also with our Volunteer Centre Manager; Jacky Birkett, attended a number of conferences and visited or talked to key staff in other established Social Prescribing schemes operating across the Country.
Carole and Trudy are also taking part in a national Social Prescribing practioners group.
Alongside this work we have been talking to our local voluntary and community groups about social prescribing and following the CCG’s published intent in their Commissioning Plan to commission a North Lincolnshire Social Prescribing scheme we held a Social Prescribing workshop on the 23rd of February, which was well attended by both VCS organisations and CCG and North Lincolnshire Council colleagues.
The next stage will be to hold a further event to showcase what has happened in other areas of the Country and the outcomes of those schemes and explore what the need is to inform the CCG’s commissioning process watch this space for more details!