The power of partnerships in effective social prescribing programmes
Recognising that our most pressing health and social care challenges are too complex for any one single institute to solve, councils, VCSE organisations, health bodies and housing associations across the country are increasingly appreciating the added value that greater partnership working brings to achieving public health objectives.
As health inequalities continue to rise, the need for cooperation across sectors has never been greater. Budgets are smaller, creating pressure on councils to be more efficient, preventative and also encouraging them to help residents to do more for themselves.
The Power of Partnerships
The health and wellbeing of communities no longer solely lies with the NHS. In fact, the NHS Long Term plan, states that the NHS is taking important action to ‘complement’ but not replace the role of local authorities and the contribution of government, communities, industry and individuals.
There is a major case for partnership working. Not only can partnerships reduce cost and leverage purchasing power, but when organisations collaborate and cooperate together they seek to improve services at every step of the patient journey, allowing for the co-production of new approaches to service delivery.
Successful Cross-Sectoral Partnerships
Acknowledging the benefits that partnership working can bring, Tandridge District Council and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council are working with GP practices, Surrey Public Health and local voluntary and community organisations to take a community-based approach to care and demonstrate the impact that social prescribing programmes and services can make to people’s lives.
Using Elemental’s Core platform, Tandridge District Council and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council will be able to make instant social prescribing referrals to trained Wellbeing Advisors. Working together with the Wellbeing Advisor, individuals can then be supported to identify suitable community-based programmes and services that will improve aspects of their mental emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
Whilst helping to connect up all the different stakeholders and assets in the community, the Core platform will also enable Tandridge District Councill to demonstrate the value of their social impact and evidence their contribution to public health objectives.
Cornwall Council has also partnered in a major social prescribing project with Elemental, Volunteer Cornwall, Active Plus, Age UK Cornwall, Chaos Café, CN4C, Eden Project and Pentreath Ltd, who already work alongside GPs across Cornwall.
The project which is designed to enable health professionals in Cornwall to prescribe non-clinical activities to residents will see twenty-nine GP practices share the hosting of nine link workers, each employed by the partner agencies.
Working with Elemental, Cornwall Council has upgraded from using spreadsheets to a digital solution that’s specifically created for social prescribing, embedded a clear referral pathway for GPs, connected up all partners involved and embraced digital for monitoring and evaluation.
Using a hyper-local approach to promoting physical activity, we’ve also been collaborating with Ealing Council, London Sport, Canal and River Trust, Catalyst Housing Association and a range of community providers to empower people to explore, assess and connect with physical activities that are available locally.
The project, led by Elemental, combined the resources available from partner organisations to empower residents to become investigators and champions of better health in their own communities via a series of community walks.
Julia Robertson, Sports Development Manager – Ealing Council said “We wanted to work with a partner to develop solutions that would help inactive residents become more physically active. Working in partnership with Elemental has been a new and very enjoyable experience; just speaking to like-minded motivated people from a different sector has provided us with opportunities to learn about what’s working elsewhere, what new initiatives are being piloted and adopted to help improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing and how new technologies can support this work.”