Social Prescribing Hour: The Role of Link Workers in Social Prescribing
Social Prescribing Roundup
This week’s Social Prescribing Hour discussed the role of Link Workers and how they are helping to ease the pressure on the NHS.
The Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum is the lead partner for the Big Lottery Fund for Social Prescribing in Northern Ireland and Scotland, a social prescribing partnership which has been successfully awarded more than £3 million of National Lottery funding.
THE ROLE OF LINK WORKERS
The Link worker is key to ensuring that the needs and priorities of the individual person are truly heard and acted upon. The power is in the ‘doing with’ as opposed to ‘doing to’ that has existed for so long. It’s all about relationship!— Michael Crilly (@Crill75) February 6, 2019
Yes!! The gps just need to know that there is a #socialprescribing project to refer to and also be confident in the #linkworkers that are best placed to connect up the patient to the non clinical services @bronaghcooper do you think it’s important to gain the trust of the gps?— Denise Elemental (@Dee_Elemental) February 6, 2019
Throughout the conversation, participants shared their thoughts on why Link Workers are important to social prescribing, which highlighted the vital role in which Link Workers connect an individual to appropriate community-based support, programme or activity. Bronagh discussed how the Link Worker’s role allows them to take time to establish the needs of the individual and explore suitable options.
The group reiterated the value of Link Workers and how Link Workers can support better health outcomes for people and reduced pressures on GPs.
EASING THE STRAIN ON THE NHS
The next question focused on how Link Workers are helping with the strain on the NHS.
Bronagh shared examples of how the social prescribing pathway has helped to ease the strain on GPs and primary care staff. She also discussed her experience of receiving referrals from patients who are pre-diabetic and have now improved their condition, thanks to engaging in social prescribing programmes and services.
Now, The Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum regularly receive referrals from GPs, as an alternative to medication.
Contributors shared their personal experiences of how social prescribing has changed the clinical pathway, reduced costs and also improved the health and wellbeing of communities.
Couldn’t agree more with this. We need to invest in recruitment, selection, CPD and support of our Link Workers as the role is central to SP success. We need career pathways too so as to attract and retain the best people.— Michael Crilly (@Crill75) February 6, 2019
Really great the benefits . In Merton initially we found the greatest need in social problems like housing , employment , isolation . Now there is a growing need in supporting long term conditions . Both equally vital .....— Mohan sekeram (@SekeramMohan) February 6, 2019
I think both go hand in hand , I think LTC including mental health will have increasing needs and interestingly you expose gaps in local support and expert patient groups.What’s really good though it also exposes the case for commissioning better Community LTC services !— Dr Jagan John (@DrJJohn) February 7, 2019
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
Following the recent news that the NHS will fund more than 1,000 Link Workers by 2020-21, the conversation concluded with the question “How do you see the role of the link worker developing in the future?”, to which participants agreed for the need to recruit more Link Workers and their hopes for qualified training certifications for those referring people to social prescribing activities.
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A big thank you to everyone to Bronagh and everyone that joined in and contributed their ideas, thoughts and questions! Join us again on Social Prescribing Hour Wednesday February 20th, 8-9pm.
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About the Author
- 5560 14th February 2019
- Top 5 Finalist in the Ro’ya Female Start up Company Award Dubai 20th January 2015
- Elemental Showcase at Mobile World Congress 2016 2nd March 2016