Social prescribing is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.
Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.
The NHS Long Term Plan for England committed to building the infrastructure for social prescribing in primary care as part of the wider approach to personalised care.
Six components of personalised care
- Shared decision-making
- Personalised care and support planning
- Enabling choice
- Personal health budgets
- Supported self-management
- Social prescribing and community-based support
Social prescribing is a way of linking people with activities and support in the community. Social prescribing schemes can involve a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. GPs and other agencies can refer people to social prescribing link workers who are funded through Primary Care Networks (PCN), and either employed by the PCN or by another agency, such as a local voluntary sector organisation.
The link workers, through shared decision making and personalised care and support planning, give people time to focus on what matters to them so they can take greater control of their own health. It works well for people with long term conditions; people who are lonely or isolated and people who have complex social needs linked to well-being.
The support that people receive is dictated by the emphasis that each PCN focuses on and whether they are employed by a PCN or by a voluntary sector organisation. The support that link workers can signpost/refer to include: volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.
Social prescribing in Derby and Derbyshire
The Derby & Derbyshire Social Prescribing Advisory Group (SPAG) was formed in April 2019 to support social prescribing activities across Derby And Derbyshire. Its membership is wide ranging and consists of:
- ICB Officers – with Louise Swain as Chair
- Derbyshire County Council Public Health – with Sara Bains as vice Chair
- Citizen Ambassador
- Representation from: link workers, link worker providers, link worker managers, VCSE infrastructure, primary care, adult social care, Derby City public health, Derbyshire Community Health Services, JUCD, medicines management, ICB directorates, Personalisation Board, Integrated Community Place Board, regional NHSE/I.
Developments from June 2019
- Local plan in place 2019 – developing the foundation and strong network
- PCN recruitment of social prescribing link workers from July 2018
- Embedding and Integrating PCN SPLW with existing related provision 2019-20
- Increasing capacity 2020-23
- Ambitions achieved 2024.
Key features of the Developing Derbyshire Model
- System wide governance and collaborative working
- Autonomous co-operative development by each PCN
- Ease of referral from local agencies as relevant to each service
- Link workers give time to individuals and co-produce personalised care and support plans around ‘What matters to you?’
- Support to access community groups and other assets as needed
- Recognising services in all sectors using the SP approach
- Supporting community resilience
- Voluntary sector infrastructure services working co-operatively with social prescribers to support development of community assets
- Workforce development
- Pro-active communication and engagement
- Adoption of NHSE Common outcomes framework.
Social prescribing enablers
The cross sector Derby and Derbyshire Social Prescribing Advisory Group (SPAG) has continued to support all aspects of social prescribing across the JUCD area over the past few months, with some significant developments supported through the well-developed collaborative approach that the group takes. These have included:
- Hosting a ‘virtual’ Celebration of Social Prescribing in Derby and Derbyshire event in October 2020 attended by about 50 partners/practitioners. See our ‘More information and useful links’ section for the presentations
- Supporting the network of 30-plus social prescribing link workers across Derby and Derbyshire with regular information updates and welcoming them as active members of SPAG
- Supporting a successful bid for Derby and Derbyshire to co-ordinate the National Academy for Social Prescribing Thriving Communities Programme for the Midlands – this is a new national support programme for voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups, supporting communities impacted by Covid-19 in England, working alongside social prescribing link workers
- Green social prescribing: On 19 December 2020, the government announced that Derbyshire was selected to develop a green social prescribing test and learn site, with funding support out of 7 chosen across the country. The initiative will connect under-served communities to the natural environment to improve mental health and well-being.
Working with all partners, through SPAG and the shared Derby and Derbyshire Social Prescribing Plan, to develop the capacity for the system to support residents with a wide range of activities and services.
The Midlands regional lead is Kerrie Fletcher from Community Action Derby: