SOCIAL PRESCRIBING ROUNDUP
This week’s Social Prescribing Hour discussed the role of Link Workers and how they are helping to ease the pressure on the NHS.
The Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum is the lead partner for the Big Lottery Fund for Social Prescribing in Northern Ireland and Scotland, a social prescribing partnership which has been successfully awarded more than £3 million of National Lottery funding.
THE ROLE OF LINK WORKERS
Throughout the conversation, participants shared their thoughts on why Link Workers are important to social prescribing, which highlighted the vital role in which Link Workers connect an individual to appropriate community-based support, programme or activity. Bronagh discussed how the Link Worker’s role allows them to take time to establish the needs of the individual and explore suitable options.
The group reiterated the value of Link Workers and how Link Workers can support better health outcomes for people and reduced pressures on GPs.
EASING THE STRAIN ON THE NHS
The next question focused on how Link Workers are helping with the strain on the NHS.
Bronagh shared examples of how the social prescribing pathway has helped to ease the strain on GPs and primary care staff. She also discussed her experience of receiving referrals from patients who are pre-diabetic and have now improved their condition, thanks to engaging in social prescribing programmes and services.
Now, The Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum regularly receive referrals from GPs, as an alternative to medication.
Contributors shared their personal experiences of how social prescribing has changed the clinical pathway, reduced costs and also improved the health and wellbeing of communities.
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
Following the recent news that the NHS will fund more than 1,000 Link Workers by 2020-21, the conversation concluded with the question “How do you see the role of the link worker developing in the future?”, to which participants agreed for the need to recruit more Link Workers and their hopes for qualified training certifications for those referring people to social prescribing activities.
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A big thank you to everyone to Bronagh and everyone that joined in and contributed their ideas, thoughts and questions! Join us again on Social Prescribing Hour Wednesday February 20th, 8-9pm.