What The NHS Recruitment Drive Means for Social Prescribing
Following the recent announcement that the NHS will recruit 300 more family doctors and thousands more nurses, pharmacists and other staff to “to deliver better care in the community”, we’re exploring what this news means for social prescribing.
More Than Medicine
While these numbers are encouraging, the figures also highlight the vital work of nurses, pharmacists, community paramedics and other primary care staff in helping to support patients to get suitable care through social prescribing, enabling GPs to focus on those with complex conditions and most in need.
For many people who access the NHS, the answer lies not in medical treatment, but in community support or activities in their local neighbourhood. In fact, around half of GP appointments are not directly related to medical conditions, rather social issues such as debt, housing and unemployment.
By taking a holistic, person-centred approach, social prescribing works to tackle the wider determinants of health by empowering patients to manage their own health and wellbeing.
Growing Support for Social Prescribing
Over the last year, there has been vast support for social prescribing in primary care and the recent recruitment drive is a promising sign that the support will continue, meaning more people will get access to community-based support, and more personalised and holistic care.
According to The Kings Fund, there has been a 15% rise in the total number of GP consultations in the last five years, three times the overall growth rate of the GP workforce in that period.
Dr Richard Vautrey, British Medical Association (BMA) GP committee chair said: “Every day, GPs see a large number of patients with a broad range of health conditions. But often, those who come to see their GP will have complex underlying reasons for doing so, not always medical and often linked to social and domestic circumstances which affect their physical and mental wellbeing.
GPs and their teams are under a huge amount of pressure to deliver high quality care to a rising population with increasingly complex needs, and therefore it is vital, now more than ever, that patients are able to see the right healthcare or support professional for them within a reasonable timeframe.
The BMA has long-backed social prescribers supporting the general practice team, and this commitment to roll them out across the country is very welcome.”
Chris Easton, Head of Person and Community Centred Approaches at T&G ICFT also commented “The wider social, economic and environmental determinants of health have a huge impact on our communities’ health and wellbeing. Social prescribing creates a way of bridging the gap between clinical care and the type of support that exists in people’s communities. Supporting people in this way delivers positive outcomes in terms of people’s wellbeing which in turn has an impact on health and care utilisation.”
“It’s great to see a positive move towards the growth of social prescribing. Embedding care in the community has numerous benefits to build and strengthen resilience.” Dr Mohan Sekeram, GP and GP Trainer at Wide Way Medical
Tackling The Social Determinants of Health
Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, Elemental has partnered with a number of GP Practices to enhance their social prescribing programmes and services using our digital social prescribing solutions.
Using Elemental’s social prescribing platform, GPs at practices across the UK, including Dr Maassarani & Partners, Westminster Surgery and Clapham Park Practice are able to instantly connect individuals into non-clinical sources of support to enhance their health and wellbeing, such as employment initiatives, debt advice and nutrition programmes.
“As a GP working in a very socially challenged area, I have found the Elemental social prescribing software to be extremely helpful. It is very easy to navigate. There is an ever-increasing number of choices to choose from for services offered such as ‘housing issues’ or ‘loneliness’. It takes only minutes from start to finish for a referral. As a busy GP this is very important. I will be using this social prescribing tool as often as possible to help improve my patients physical and mental health.” – Dr Rajan Rajesh, Westminster Surgery
Most recently, we announced a major partnership with Cornwall Council which will see GPs in 29 practices connect patients to suitable social prescribing programmes which are based in their local community.
They are also supported to:
- Evaluate the impact of a referral for an individual or across a community cohort
- Contribute to achieving public health objectives
- Reduce avoidable GP appointments, saving time, cost and resources
- Easily manage everything from within our Core platform, meaning a seamless and simplified user journey
Find out more
To learn how Elemental can help you enhance your social prescribing projects using our digital platform, drop us a line, request a demo below or give us a call. We’d love to chat.