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Social prescribing

Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary and social care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical or non-care services.

Who are we?

It is well known that people’s health and wellbeing is determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors. Social prescribing seeks to address needs in a holistic way that supports individuals to take greater control of their own health. There is emerging evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and well-being outcomes: improving quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and levels of depression and anxiety. Other evidence suggests that there can be a reduction in the demands on primary care fall when a patient’s overriding issues are addressed and that medical prescribing also falls.

There are many different models for social prescribing, but most involve a link worker or navigator who works with people to access local sources of support that meet both the needs of and the interest of the individual. The schemes can involve a variety of activities designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs. They are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports and physical activities.

It is clear that a comprehensive social prescribing programme cannot be delivered by a single organisation alone.

Who will be delivering this service in Harrow?

5 Primary Care Networks (PCNs):

  • Harrow
  • East
  • Sphere
  • Health Alliance
  • Harrow Collaborative
  • Healthsense
  • Harrow Community Action (HCA)

5 Host Voluntary Sector Organisations:

  • Age UK HHB
  • Harrow Carers
  • Harrow Mencap
  • Mind in Harrow
  • St Luke’s Hospice

Working in partnership with Harrow Council, Harrow PCNs and NHS England.

How will it work?

5 Link Workers will be based in GP practice (one LW will be allocated for each PCN and they will be based in an agreed GP practice/s) to offer the service for patients within each PCN.

Step One: GPs will refer patients to Link Workers.

Step Two: Link Workers will find out what is important to each client and devise a bespoke support plan.

Step Three: Link Workers will link clients with local groups and services that can help with clients’ wellbeing and give ongoing support until each client’s wellbeing is improved – a maximum duration of 6 months.

Harrow Social Prescribing Service team will be managed by Social Prescribing Manager and the service is supported by a steering group: the Social Prescribing leads from Harrow Council, HCA, PCNs, Harrow CCG and host voluntary organisations.

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Currently, during the coronavirus outbreak, our services and activities are running remotely.  We will begin to offer face-to-face activities again when we can undertake these safely.