What is social prescribing?
Social prescribing is about linking residents with local community groups and services that offer support and advice to help them, improving self-care and tackling the social causes of ill health and wellbeing. Following a successful trial in early 2018, social prescribing has been rolled out across all GP Practices in the East Riding.
Link workers are based in all East Riding GPs and offer social prescribing to local residents to ensure the right support is made available to them when they need it.
Issues they can help with include social activities, how to meet new friends, exercise classes to improve mental and physical wellbeing and long term conditions groups; in some areas, debt and welfare support or supporting residents to implement their own community-based projects.
Social prescribing in the East Riding
The pilot found a number of people regularly visited their GP for underlying non-medical issues that, if dealt with, could reduce reliance on medical interventions and help them better manage existing long-term or complex conditions.
The social prescribing team can help support people to deal with a variety of things that affect their health and wellbeing. They will spend time with residents, listen to what they want to make better and then provide support to help make it happen.
Link workers, based in GP practices, can spend more time getting to the cause of the issues are, rather than a GP who has an allotted time. Together, you and your link worker will co-design and agree a personalised plan of action.
Social Prescribing does not replace medical services but instead works with them and the patient to identify and deal with underlying issues that hinder the person's quality of life and health and wellbeing.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council is one of many organisations involved in the social prescribing service locally. Others include:
- Humber NHS Foundation Trust
- HEY MIND
- East Riding GPs
- HEY Smile Foundation
To contact a local link worker or make an appointment, residents can call in to their GP, call free on 0800 9177752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to help others
When Steven retired from work, he felt like he was on holiday for a couple months. At first, Steven enjoyed being able to complete odd jobs around the house and all the projects he had put off to retirement, but when he finished them, he didn't know what to do from then on. Left to his own devices and without the schedule he was used to, Steven's weight shot up to 21 and a half stone. He was unhappy and his weight greatly affected his health, forcing him to visit the doctor. There, he met with the link workers of the social prescribing service. Listen to Steven's story of success and how he slimmed down and made connections with new friends.
When Margaret moved to Driffield, she hoped she would find a community, but anxiety became a barrier of finding new friends and couldn't leave the house. Margaret quickly became isolated in her home, and would often telephone her local GP. Watch Margaret's story and how, with help from Dr Klakus and one-to-one support with link worker Phil, she gained new confidence to go into town.
Having spent his entire working life in the merchant navy, Richard found retirement hard to adjust to. He was unsure how to meet likeminded people. With most of his family grown and moved away, Richard struggled with the isolation he found himself in. Link worker Fernanda helped Richard find local volunteer groups he could join, helping him socialise and regain his confidence.