Celebrating Social Prescribing Week! - Amy Daniels
“A fifth of GP time is spent dealing with patients' social problems, such as debt, isolation, housing, and employment.”
Social prescribing is about supporting people with their social, emotional or practical needs. When a patient sees their GP, nurse or other clinicians in their local practice -they may present with other issues, rather than just medical ones.
Social prescribing aims to address the social, environmental or economic factors that may be affecting the person’s health and wellbeing. It supports the person holistically and helps them to get connected to a wide range of statutory and non-statutory support.
In my role as a wellbeing coordinator -I work from two GP practices in Ellesmere Port: Whitby Health Partnership and Hope Farm Medical Centre. Patients who have a least one existing health condition (18 years or over) are referred by clinicians. I contact the patient and assess their needs either by telephone, face to face or occasional home visits (housebound patients). Many patients have more than one health condition, sometimes several complex ones -these can have a significant impact on their day-to-day wellbeing.
Social Prescribing is a little like being a navigator -connecting patients to many different appropriate services. It is diverse, rewarding and busy. It has been increasingly challenging throughout the pandemic for patients suffering with isolation and mental health issues.
As a wellbeing coordinator -I can connect patients with local social groups, activities, social events, volunteering, befriending, benefits and finance, support with exercise, weight and smoking cessation, arts and crafts, gardening.
Sometimes a patient may just need brief intervention, a telephone number for a local church group or wellbeing café, others need more in-depth support, depending on their needs.
I have worked in the Health and Social Care sector for 25 years, roles which have included generic and special needs advice and guidance, recovery and prevention work, mental health, homelessness and domestic abuse. These roles have focused on guidance, enablement, advocacy and well-being.
Here are some of the comments I have received from patients:
“It’s great to know there are people like you helping patients”
“You're a star!' I am made up, you said you would so something and you did it. I can't praise you enough, you've done all that for me, top of the class!”
“I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the help and support you gave us.”
“This is the first time I have spoken to someone, and they really understand what I’m talking about and what is needed.”
“Thank you for all the help you have given me, all the services you have brought in, it’s been smashing.”