Part of the aim of our practice is to deliver social prescribing models, a service that enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. We can access Social Prescribing via our Primary Care Network, which is made up of a group of GP practices across East and Central Brighton.
These ‘prescriptions’ cover a wide range of activities such as referrals to arts groups and volunteering to activities that involve physical exercise, such as gardening and dance clubs. It is not all physical however, social prescribing can also include putting people in contact with services that provide help and advice with things such as debt, benefits and housing.
Who can benefit?
Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focussed on improving mental health and physical well-being. Those who could benefit from social prescribing schemes include people with mild or long-term mental health problems, vulnerable groups, people who are socially isolated, and those with chronic illnesses who frequently attend either primary or secondary health care.
Does it work?
There is good evidence that getting people involved in community life, keeping them active and improving social connections is good for both health and wellbeing.
We also employ a Focused Care team employed in the Practice to work with patients in linking with other health teams or local groups and activities and they work with the health team in the Practice to deliver social support to patients.
Focused Care works to help our most vulnerable patients access the care that they need, whether this is physical or mental healthcare, or social and community services to help improve living situations. Patients can be referred to Focused Care by staff working in the practice, or local community services, when the usual care plan does not seem to be working. A Focused Care Practitioner will then work with the patient or household to identify what is needed and will work with local social and community resources to begin to bring cohesive support to the patient. They will often bring together other agencies and work to ensure that appointments are attended, resources are provided, and stability is brought to the situation.
Focused Care is part of the Wellsbourne approach, embedded within the surgery, and well-supported by the clinical team. The Focused Care Practitioners have access, not only to our own clinicians, but across agencies via multi-disciplinary team meetings.
Focused Care was developed out of the Social Prescribing package which has been offered by WHCIC since 2018 and worksto improve lives of patients by offering a bespoke whole-person approach to patients who are in desperate need of joined-up care.