Case Study: How Hydebank Wood College has successfully embedded digital social prescribing into prison care

Case Study: How Hydebank Wood College has successfully embedded digital social prescribing into prison care

Why Hydebank Wood College partnered with Elemental to help lay the foundation for integrated care from all involved agencies and continue social prescribing through the gate and beyond.



Located in the rural area of Belfast, Hydebank Wood College is a Category C prison with males (age 18-21+) and females (age 18+). In 2019 The Public Health Agency funded a social prescribing pilot study that involved a Multidisciplinary Team within the college. This team would support a group of female patients to better connect into the programmes and services that contributed towards improved health and wellbeing within the prison environment. The project was extended and young males were also invited to take part in the social prescribing programme.


The Challenge

Hydebank Wood College wanted to create a mechanism for how they capture the things that mattered to the patients and better support those who suffer from anxiety, trauma and addictions through a range of non medical interventions within the prison.


It was important for the healthcare in prison team to find out what the person was involved in and would like to be involved in when they leave.

A number of objectives were set around the challenge to:

  • Ensure suitability of service and engage multi-agencies as well as internal service providers
  • Ensure that the patient was supported to co design more ‘person centred’ wellbeing plans
  • Prevent the duplication of services
  • Scope the current provision of non medical services that contribute towards health and wellbeing within Hydebank
  • Link services through the gate
  • Focus more on Outcome Based Accountability
  • To commission future services based on the data generated from the project  

THE Solution

Elemental worked with the project steering group to co design the referral pathways with the patients. This saw the Mental Health team within Hydebank take the lead in identifying suitable patients and making referrals through Elemental’s social prescribing platform.

Once the referrals were made to the Senior Nursing Assistants, each patient was supported to set goals, measure their wellbeing levels and were introduced to interventions that would help them achieve their goals.

The Nursing Assistants were able to map the services available and in one case, were able to design a programme of support around helping patients get to sleep. This was previously just a leaflet with tips and advice on establishing a good routine for sleep.