Last year, the NHS announced the GP Forward View, a series of measures aimed at relieving the workload pressures on GP practices and primary care. Fast forward to this year and the NHS says that CCGs should ensure that ‘every practice implements at least two of the high impact “time to care” actions.
The high impact actions form part of NHS England’s General Practice Development Programme, which has developed out of the GP Forward View and headed up by Manchester GP, Dr Robert Varnam. Dr Varnam believes the actions can make a big difference to practices. ‘We’re seeing that every single one of the actions have an impact,’ he says. ‘It varies between about 5% of GP time up to about 15% or maybe more.’
Listed amongst the 10 ‘high impact actions’, social prescribing is defined as the use of non-medical interventions to achieve long term behaviour change and improved self-care. By linking patients to non-medical support within the local community such as physical activity programmes, befriending services and housing support, social prescribing has been proven to improve wellbeing and reduce frequent attendance at surgeries, helping to release time for enhanced care in general practice.
In Northern Ireland, Dr Paul Molloy at Clarendon Medical Centre was an early advocate of social prescribing and the value it brought, particularly to elderly people in the local community. Using Elemental Software, he now makes instant social prescribing referrals to non-clinical support delivered by community, voluntary and social enterprise sector organisations for patients with a wide range of needs. Dr Paul Molloy reports that less time spent on administration means more time is being spent in caring for patients and connecting them with non medical support in their communities.
Dr Paul Molloy says “At Clarendon Medical Centre we wanted to do things differently and be innovative in looking at ways that we can drive longer term health improvements for our patients.”
As a result of working smarter, Dr Paul Molloy is using social prescribing technology, supporting more patients, reducing pressures on staff as well as decreasing the number of avoidable GP appointments to Clarendon Medical Centre. If you would like to discuss how social prescribing technology can help your practice deliver on the NHS Forward View ‘High Impact Actions’ and Sustainable Transformation Plans, click here to get in touch.