The Role of Local Authorities in Social Prescribing

SINCE TAKING OVER RESPONSIBILITY FOR PUBLIC HEALTH IN ENGLAND IN 2013, LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE IN THEIR AREAS.

With many social determinants falling within their remits, such as housing, regeneration and education, local authorities are perfectly placed to help improve the health and wellbeing of local communities due to their ability to:

  • Shape services to meet local needs
  • Influence wider social determinants of health
  • Tackle health inequalities
  • Link up local service provision

INTERVENING TO REDUCE HEALTH INEQUALITIES

Reducing health inequalities is at the heart of public health and a major priority for many local authorities. From experience, we’ve seen that this can be challenging due to areas often deep-rooted with multiple causes. Not only is there a strong social justice case for local authorities to address health inequalities, but there is also a pressing economic case. It is estimated that the annual cost of health inequalities is between £36 billion to £40 billion through lost taxes, welfare payments and costs to the NHS

Social prescribing presents a model of care which addresses such inequalities by taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, tackling the root cause of the issue rather than simply treating the condition. Broadly speaking, social prescribing can be described as a way of connecting individuals with non-medical sources of support within the community, such as cookery classes, exercise programs, as well as debt and employment advice.

Social prescribing has the potential to address social determinants of ill health and offers a clear opportunity for local authorities to empower individuals to manage their own health and wellbeing, reduce demand on more costly services, and diversify services for patients, particularly those with complex needs.

This community-based model of care supports the role that local government plays in fostering community resilience and enabling individuals and communities to take more control over their health and lives by identifying suitable social prescribing programmes and services suited to their wants and needs. By commissioning and delivering community-based activities and interventions, social prescribing enables local authorities to:

  • Tackle health inequalities on an industrial scale
  • Target people with multiple risks to their health (mental wellbeing, physical health and wider determinants)
  • Take a systematic approach to engage with and empower communities to take responsibility for their own health

COUNCILS LEADING THE WAY IN SOCIAL PRESCRIBING

Tandridge District Council are leading the way with their Wellbeing Prescription, which is delivered in partnership by Tandridge District Council and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is commissioned by NHS East Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group and Surrey County Council Adult Social Care.

Working in partnership with GP practices, local voluntary and community organisations and Surrey Public Health, the service will receive social prescribing referrals to trained Wellbeing Advisors who can support individuals to improve aspects of their mental emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

Through Elemental’s Core platform, primary and secondary healthcare professionals and community providers in Tandridge District Council will be able to:

  • Connect patients to suitable social prescribing programmes in their communities more effectively
  • Evaluate the impact of a referral for an individual or across a community cohort
  • Contribute to achieving public health objectives
  • Evaluate the impact of a referral for an individual or across a community cohort
  • Reduce avoidable GP appointments, saving time, cost and resources
  • Easily manage everything from within our Core platform, meaning a seamless and simplified user journey

Not only will the Core platform help to connect up all the different stakeholders and assets in the community to deliver a more encompassing service to the people of Tandridge and Reigate & Banstead areas but Tandridge District Council will be able to demonstrate the value of their social impact and evidence their contribution to public health objectives.

PLAY YOUR PART

To find out more about how Elemental can help you play your part in social prescribing, head over to our ‘social prescribing for local authorities’,  read some of our recent case studies, drop us a line or give us a call.  

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Jennifer and Leeann

Someone’s health and wellbeing can be affected by where they live, what they do for a living, their income or their early childhood background experiences. This in turn leads to some stark, and often avoidable health differences.

We founded Elemental to play an active part in halting health inequalities through the social prescribing movement. Our technology helps communities to be better connected, build resilience and bring real precision to the measurement of the impact of community investment.

We work with organisations that want to continue to invest in their communities but want to be much better at measuring impact and outcomes.

We believe this is a powerful route out of health inequality.

CEO & Co-Founder, Jennifer Neff
COO & Co-Founder, Leeann Monk-Ozgul

Jennifer and Leeann

A message from our founders