One Health Lewisham is working with the Primary Care Networks and local stakeholders, including voluntary sector and local authority, to develop a local programme for social prescribing which supports primary care and patients in the community.
What is social prescribing?
“Finding community opportunities to improve your wellbeing and help you feel better”
Social prescribing is a method of referring people towards non-medical sources of support within the community to help them improve their overall wellbeing. This can include activities like fitness classes, gardening clubs and healthy cooking programmes. Patients can also get support around social issues, such as debt management and looking for employment
Lewisham Council also offer advice on how social prescribing can help improve health and wellbeing by connecting you to social activities and services in the borough. To visit the Lewisham Council Social Prescribing page – click here.
Social Prescribers (also known as link workers) can support people living with long term conditions so that they can get access to a variety of support from appropriate sources, whilst freeing up valuable clinical time. This can, therefore, reduce demand on already stretched primary care services and allow primary care clinicians to focus on the more complex medical needs of the patient.
The team currently consists of 6, but will be growing soon.
The team are pictured above and have the following PCN areas and contact emails
- Lewisham Care Partnership – Sophie Thomas: Social Prescribing Lead – Sophie.email@example.com
- North Lewisham – Shane Qinnell: Social Prescribing Link Worker – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aplos – Debbie-Ann Ofosuware: Social Prescribing Link Worker – email@example.com
- Lewisham Alliance – Natasha Rayasam: Social Prescribing Link Worker –firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sevenfields – Penny Hansford: Social Prescribing Link Worker – email@example.com
- Aplos -Kwabena Osei-Kuffuor: Social Prescribing Link Worker – Kwabena.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Social Prescribers can link up and initially accompany you to free and low cost services, such as:
• Making appointments for Housing, benefits, financial support and advice.
• Completing Blue Badge, Taxi Card and Dial a Ride applications.
• Introducing you to healthy lifestyle advice and physical activities.
• Arts, music, outdoors and creative activities.
• Social activities and clubs.
• Befriending, counselling and emotional /peer support groups.
• Employment, training and volunteering
• Education and learning.
Addressing difficult issues needs extra time and support. Our social prescribing link workers can help you look after more than just your health.
They use the overarching Five Ways to Wellbeing to promote general wellbeing.
Working in partnership for up to 8 weeks as part of a plan to understand people’s situation, interests and aspirations and together we monitor progress to improve their wellbeing.
We work alongside Lewisham GPs and nurses to help you get extra support.
Social prescribing and Primary Care Networks
In the Long Term Plan NHS England committed to building the infrastructure for social prescribing in primary care:
- there will be 1,000 new social prescribing link workers in place by 2020/21, with significantly more after that, so that
- at least 900,000 people will be referred to social prescribing by 2023/24.
- This is part of the drive to Universal Personalised Care that will see at least 2.5 million people benefiting from personalised care by 23/24.
The social prescribing link workers will become an integral part of the multi-disciplinary teams which are part of primary care networks They form one of five additional roles in the five year framework for GP contract reform.
Funding for the new social prescribing link workers became available to primary care networks (PCNs) from 1 July 2019, when the new primary care network Direct Enhanced Services contract was launched
This is the biggest investment in social prescribing by any national health system, and legitimises community-based activities and support alongside medical treatment as part of personalised care.
Lewisham’s model of social prescribing
One Health Lewisham is working with a digital social prescribing software, Elemental, to support social prescribers across Lewisham. The software helps to scale and measure the impact of social prescribing projects, whilst integrating with other NHS software, so that GP practices can monitor the progress of patients who have been referred into the service.