A social prescriber is able to explore the non-medical needs of patients and work with them to find solutions that are personal to them. They are able to assist patients with identifying what motivates them, what their interests are and their needs and preferences. Using this information and with their involvement the intention is to develop a personalised care and support plan which may involve being introduced to local community groups, activities or volunteering opportunities.
Social prescribers aim to develop trusting relationships and give people time to tell their stories. The first appointment could be from half an hour to over an hour. They will assess the patient’s mental and physical wellbeing, diet, exercise, social activities, finance, employment situation (if applicable) and confidence and self-esteem. Together we will decide on what action or groups/activities the patient would like to get involved with and I can make the referral or give them details in order for them to access this. If the patient does not have the confidence to go to a group alone I can refer to the Support Staffordshire’s Community Buddy Scheme where a volunteer would be able to attend with them for the first few visits.
Our Social Prescriber can also carry out home visits for patients who struggle to come to the surgery and this may be better in some circumstances for example if someone is isolated or anxious and may not attend if they have to leave their house.
Referrals can be for a wide range of people but NHS England say that it particularly works for people:
- With one or more long-term conditions
- Who need support with their mental health
- Who are lonely or isolated
- Who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing
Referrals can be made by a Clinician or a patient is able to self-refer.
Our Social Prescriber works Mondays and Tuesdays at the Westgate Practice (08:30 – 16:30).