About social prescribing link workers
Patients visit their GPs for a range of different reasons and sometimes these issues can be caused by non-medical matters such as loneliness, anxiety, unemployment, illness or debt.
Social prescribing link workers work in partnership with GP surgeries and can help people to access appropriate support in the community, to help them make positive changes to their personal wellbeing
What can social prescribing link workers help with?
- getting people to focus on their own priorities and the things that affect their wellbeing
- supporting people to take more control of their health
- introducing people to groups and activities in their community
How can social prescribing link workers help patients?
Social prescribing link workers can offer support and signposting for a variety of non-clinical interventions such as:
- people struggling to adapt or cope with chronic conditions that can’t be addressed by clinical consultation
- mental health and emotional wellbeing
- relationship difficulties
- domestic abuse
- loneliness and isolation
- low self esteem
- poor housing
- financial issues, including benefits
- health goals e.g. weight management, healthy eating, stop smoking, physical activity
How are GP practices benefiting?
Social prescribing enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing. Often people’s social situation can lead to depression and other health problems, which takes them to the GP for medical help. Helping people to address their personal problems and feel empowered to take back control often results in a reduction of medicines and less need for a GP’s help.
How can patients book to see or access advice from a social prescribing link worker?
Social prescribing is open to patients aged 18+ who present to their GP with issues that have a non-clinical underlying cause. Patients may have a social need, ongoing health conditions, regularly attend their GP surgery or are at risk of unplanned admission.
Social prescribing link workers meet patients referred by their GP at their practice, before referring and signposting to appropriate services. Patients are treated holistically with the point of referral determined by individual need – this could include information to support health, finance or social isolation.