What is Social Prescribing?
Social prescribing is a national NHS England programme, and is a way for local agencies to refer people to a link worker.
Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing.
They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.
Social prescribing works for a wide range of people, including those:
- with one or more long-term conditions
- who need support with their mental health
- who are lonely or isolated
- who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing
Southern Brooks, in partnership with DHI, has been commissioned to deliver support within GP Practices in South Gloucestershire. Our Social Prescribing Link Workers are based within the Practice, and GPs can refer patients directly to them. Patients are offered 4-6 one-to-one appointments with their Link Worker, who will help them to access relevant services, support, and community groups. NHS England has produced a summary guide to Social Prescribing, which you can read HERE. If you would like to be referred to a Social Prescribing Link Worker, please speak to your GP.
Social Prescribing During Covid
The Social Prescribing Service is continuing to run remotely throughout the year. The link workers continue to be able to access, sign post and refer into the necessary services to improve people’s wellbeing.
Social Prescribing was designed to reduce levels of social isolation, and despite current restrictions we are continuing to do so. Social distancing measures do not mean that we have to be disconnected and the link workers are working with people that are struggling through this period. We have been helping people struggling with their children during school closure, helping with money and welfare issues, including helping to secure grants for those in financial hardship, and have gained support for mental health and well-being from a variety of organisations and community groups. Now that restrictions are lifting, and the weather is bright, our link workers are meeting people out in their communities for face to face conversations in open spaces where social distancing measures can be followed safely. We are busy building a portfolio of ‘green’ activities and community groups that can be joined and enjoyed while adhering to government advice.
It is being increasingly recognised that a detachment from the natural world is contributing to ill health and psychological distress in the modern world.
Green prescribing (being in natural landscapes) and blue prescribing (being close to water) are areas that our social prescriber can help with. This involves encouraging people to get outside and interact with natural landscape promoting health and wellbeing. Further information can be found here
The Social Prescriber for Hanham Health is Liam Dixon.
Here is a little information about him.
I have a keen interest in sports and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle, along with a degree in sports science and coaching. I also find myself to be a very organised and meticulous individual – sometimes too much for my own good! Previous experience of working as a 1 to 1 mentor of all ages and abilities, to meet a range of needs (social, emotional and physical) – to enable individuals to live fulfilled lives and expand opportunities to engage with new people and environments .
The sense of empowering people and helping others in varying capacities is a rewarding aspect of social prescribing – helping others is a natural trait of mine and using it in a professional capacity further emphasises my passion whilst being a part of the Social Prescribing Link Worker team. As a Social Prescribing Link Worker, we work to help individuals to help access deliveries, medications, welfare calls, liaise with agencies and facilitate food parcels to those in need during these uncertain times. This is offered on top of our usual role of helping those with one or more long-term conditions, who need support with their mental health, those who are lonely or isolated, who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing also – working closely with patients to link and signpost to appropriate services to help with alleviate some of these identified above.
Dr Craig Lintern is our Hanham Health Social Prescribing Lead and is more than happy to discuss any concerns that patients may have.
If you would like to be referred to the Social Prescribing service please just speak with a member of our team.