More than one in ten Primary Care Networks
More than one in ten Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in England are now using Elemental Software’s digital social prescribing platform, deriving benefits that include reduced pressures on the NHS and personalised care for over 900,000 individuals.
To meet the needs of local people with long-term health issues, such as mental health conditions, GP practices work together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas, to create groups known as PCNs. There are 1,250 in England.
During the Pandemic, an increase in social isolation and mental health concerns has meant that NHS resources have been stretched worryingly thin. As a result, GPs have been under a huge amount of pressure to ease the strain on the front line, while keeping patients safe and ensuring they get the care they need.
Social prescribing is a method of referring people towards non-medical sources of support within the community to help them improve their overall wellbeing, via a social prescribing link worker. This can include activities like fitness classes, gardening clubs, and healthy cooking programmes.
Jennifer Neff, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Elemental Software
“Studies on the benefits and impact of social prescribing have linked it to improvements in quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and levels of depression and anxiety.
We are proud that our digital platform is currently being utilised by over one in 10 PCNs across England, and that this is making a difference to people’s lives, particularly in London, where almost 50% of PCNs are utilising our software.”
Elemental in London
In London, 48 PCNs across 18 boroughs have made over 17,000 referrals for social prescribing in the last 12 months through Elemental’s platform. The most common reasons have been for mental health concerns, social isolation and housing issues. Interventions have included talking therapies and welfare support, with almost 150 Social Prescribers and 287 GP practices ensuring patients receive the holistic care they need.
Ben Halschka, Head of Social Prescribing at Merton Connected
“Elemental is an ideal tool to share community resources, to monitor patients’ wellbeing progress and to share information with our Primary Care colleagues. The software will enable Social Prescribing Link Workers, Health and Wellbeing Coaches and Care Coordinators to work even closer together.”
Mohan Sekeram, GP at Wide Way Medical Centre
“As a GP the Elemental tool is a simple, quick and efficient tool which allows the smooth transfer of referrals which embed into GP computer systems.”
Elemental recently hosted the company’s first ‘Thriving PCNs’ webinar, where professionals working in and with PCNs shared the practical steps they have taken to enhance how they deliver social prescribing services. It also provided an insight to the impact a thriving PCN can have on patient experience, the community, and the wider health and care sector and how many PCNs are better connecting the additional roles that the NHS funding around the communities they serve.
A number of NHS case studies have reported that throughout the pandemic, the PCN team effort of supporting patients through social prescribing has built long-term relationships and created networks that will last beyond the current crisis.
In England, the NHS Long Term Plan states that nearly one million people will qualify for referral to social prescribing schemes by 2024, as part of a drive to see 2.5million benefit from personalised care by the same time. Research conducted by the University of Westminster found that such social prescribing schemes have the potential to cut GP consultation rates by 28% and A&E attendance by 24%.
Dr Rory Mackinnon, GP and Medical Director, Sunderland GP Alliance
“Elemental is very quick and easy to use in real time. A great time saver for referring patients.”
Watch the Elemental ‘Thriving PCNs’ webinar here.