In today’s blog, Martin Bell, Managing Director of an Independent consultancy, The Martin Bell Partnership that provides expert strategic and practical support for healthcare, healthcare IT, and general business support shares the importance of the NHS Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF) and how Elemental’s end to end, fully integrated, digital social prescribing platform supports the HSSF goals, and makes the delivery of social prescribing so much easier, most likely to succeed, and focuses on those who most need support across all the communities in the UK.
No one needs to be reminded of the seismic events of the past 18 months. From the tragic illness and deaths caused by Covid, to the struggles and often failure of national government policies to manage the pandemic, the knock-on consequences to those needing non Covid related treatments. Operations or continuing health and care, to the uneven impact across the population, especially on the more vulnerable and poorer in society – the past 18 months have been at times brutal and often sad times.
From the pandemic, there are signs of further stress in the health system as covid, long covid, the restarting of health and care “regular” work and the need for health and care staff to “take a breather” come together.
Without pause for breath, we also appear to be launching into more structural changes, with the recently presented NHS Bill to parliament (for the English NHS) further changes to the NHS are signalled, with the demise of CCGs and the rise of ICSs amongst other things. Yet still awaited is any coherent plan for social care reform to make this affordable, sustainable, and just “better”.
In amongst all this landscape, digital and the delivery of health and care services via digital solutions may prove to be one lasting, positive legacy.
Whether the increased usage of the humble telephone (a big winner during the pandemic), to video and online consultations, technology enabled care and remote monitoring – many of the barriers that were thought to exist pre Covid, have been shown to be moveable, and many have started to be dismantled.
One of those areas, which cuts across the NHS, health more widely, social care and care settings, housing associations, the VCSE world and charities – to name a few – is Social Prescribing.
Elemental saw a huge uptake in their Digital Social Prescribing platform during the pandemic.
The UK’s leading social prescribing platform, the only full end to end social prescribing management platform and the only social prescribing fully integrated with core GP and many other core health and care systems, Elemental were and are ideally placed to support the NHS and the wide range of other organisations out there who are realising the power of people and communities and truly leveraging the awesome capabilities of social prescribing, to support many people, but often many of the most vulnerable in our society.
Elemental saw a 147% increase in people seeking social support. There was a 214% rise in the adoption of digital by the Social Prescribing Link Worker community – an absolutely vital part of the social prescribing landscape. Further, there was a near 200% increase in those making and managing referrals to social prescribing.
Nearly 15,000 people – from GPs to nurses, practice managers to housing officers, local government staff to social workers – are now making referrals via the Elemental solution. Over 2,600 link workers are using the platform to connect with people in their communities. Nearly half a million visits were carried out, recorded in Elemental.
Over 770 social prescribing hubs helped to deliver more personalised care for over 132,000 people – all driven via the Elemental offering.
These are amazing statistics!
With the launch of the HSSF Framework for Social Prescribing, there are now a couple of routes for NHS organisations (but others as well) to procure through existing frameworks, as well as the G Cloud 12 framework (on which Elemental feature already and have done for some years).
HSSF allows organisations, most typically one imagines outside of primary care settings – so ICSs, Acute Trusts, Mental Health Trusts, Community organisations, etc to procure digital social prescribing solutions to support their populations.
The framework does not (at present) come with funding attached, so the funding must be found locally, but with the strong RoI on benefits that social prescribing offers, it should form part of all local NHS strategies moving forward, whatever the organisation.
Elemental is on the HSSF framework, and represents the only full digital social prescribing offering, delivering the whole package of benefits that social prescribing can bring.
Elemental is also on the GP IT Futures framework, which also has a social prescribing capabilities section. Again, it’s worth potential buyers noting, as with HSSF or G Cloud, that quite a few things are being described as “social prescribing” these days but the breadth and depth of what they offer varies significantly, and with many still in the early stages of evolution. Elemental’s solution is highly mature and continues to grow offering the widest range of features.
The GP IT Futures framework is likely to be the main procurement route for primary care organisations and does come with some funding via the capitation allocated through the framework for non-core GP systems – so as local organisations look to re-procure or procure for the first time, they can use this route to get either all or part of their solutions funded from the central monies.
The whole NHS has been speaking extensively about person centred care. The move to ICSs is meant to try and support that.
The usage of various targeted, digital solutions is designed to help deliver this. For true person-centred care, it needs to deliver exactly that – not just the clinical treatments and interventions, but the social and community-based care needs that people require.
Elemental’s end to end, fully integrated, digital social prescribing platform supports that goal, and makes the delivery of it so much easier, most likely to succeed and to support those who most need our support across all the communities of the UK.