Resources and Events – Case Studies

Age UK Barnet maximise local community assets and support improvements in health and wellbeing – September 2021

About The Project

Age UK Barnet works under contract to Barnet Council and in partnership with other voluntary organisations to provide a wide range of services and activities for older people in Barnet. It is the primary social prescribing lead in the area, funded by primary care and Public Health and supports all seven primary care networks across Barnet. Its aim is to ensure that all patients have timely access to social, practical and emotional support when they need it, and to reduce the demand for primary care services through more preventative and lower-level community support.



Age UK Barnet wanted to ensure that the social prescribing offer was universal and consistent across Barnet, as well as making sure that the voluntary, charity and social enterprise sector was involved in their offer to maximise local community assets and support improvements in health and wellbeing. Their aim is to empower communities to feel more in control of their own wellbeing and respond to local needs as they emerge.


The challenge


Age UK Barnet had 57 GP practices to support, with some more engaged in social prescribing than others to begin with. This meant that they needed to be able to accurately record referral data so they could understand which GP practice were engaging less and offer training and resources to support them to increase their utilisation of utilising the service.


Objectives included:


  • To better enable GPs and allied health professionals to make referrals into the social prescribing service.
  • To improve access to the diverse services available for patients to support their health and wellbeing.
  • To better understand their local communities, reasons for referrals and to identify gaps in local services so that the offer could adapt to local needs.


The solution


Using Elemental’s Social Prescribing platform, all 57 GP practices are now equipped to make referrals to the service.

Through the platforms innovative evaluation and reporting features, they are able to report on the impact of referrals in line with their contracts with Public Health and Primary Care, which includes demographic, utilisation, service themes and trends all within one system.


The outcome


Over 4,100 referrals have been made into the social prescribing service by GPs in the last 12 months, with 534 social prescriptions being made. There have been nearly 6,000 referrals in total since the project started 18 months ago, with over 685 social prescriptions. The three main referral routes since the project began have been psychological therapy, adult social care and support for the over 55’s.


Health improvements can be seen through the outcome measures taken at the start of patients social prescribing journey comparing to the end. The most recent outcomes reveal 67.4% cases reported an increase in their overall happiness and 64% of patients showed a decrease in their GP attendance post social prescribing.


The future


Following the success of the project, Age UK Barnet are now looking to further strengthen the VCSE sector by enabling access to Elemental’s platform across the borough so that they are able to monitor the referrals they receive and support bids for more funding for their services.

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