A guide to social prescribing in London has been launched to transform the health of Londoners enabling them to access not just medical treatments but also provide them with the support to access community-based interventions.
At least 20 per cent of people visit their GP for non-medical reasons. Social prescribing is a way of reducing visits to the doctor and hospital and ensuring that people can take control of their health and wellbeing by accessing appropriate community activities. It treats the whole person, not the illness – not replacing health provision, if people need it, but supplementing it.
The Healthy London Partnership (HLP) proactive care team, the Greater London Authority and the London Social Prescribing Network have collaborated with over 100 key stakeholders to produce Next Steps for Social Prescribing in London
The document shows with the use of case studies and indepth analysis how a partnership approach across health, social care and voluntary sectors can grow social prescribing across London and the steps needed to achieve it to enable easy access to local services, supporting the social prescribing workforce and ensuring the voluntary and community sector can provide appropriate services.
At the core of social prescribing are three parts – the referrer (a GP or social worker for example), a link worker who works with the individual to identify their needs and an activity such as singing, peer support groups or keep fit to help people connect with their community.
The link worker plays a pivotal role in the social prescribing workforce, connecting an individual with the community and is a key component of the rapidly expanding primary care networks. The NHS Long Term Plan has made it an ambition that over 1,000 trained social prescribing link workers will be in place by the end of 2020/21 with the aim that over 900,000 people are able to be referred to social prescribing schemes by then.
Social prescribing is often seen as having a significant impact on social care. An audit of a Kensington and Chelsea social prescribing programme highlighted significant benefits, for example a person who had, through the programme avoided long-term care placement.
Enabling more Londoners to access social prescribing is a key ambition within the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy. He wants to ensure that every Londoner has access to a social prescription in London by 2028 and this guide describes the building blocks we believe are essential to growing social prescribing, ensuring easy access and supporting local provision.
You can read Next Steps for Social Prescribing in London here.