The social prescribing environment across Southwark relies on good local relationships and strong networks between GP practices, social prescribers and community groups, and has evolved over time with many different types of support developing organically.
Early in 2020 two teams of Primary Care Network Social Prescribing Link Workers were established with NHS funding. By the end of 2021 there were 13 link workers in the North and nine in the South of the borough. The teams provide signposting, advice and non-clinical support to patients referred to them from GP practices, nurses, and community support hubs, to access appropriate community services and social support. Self-referral has been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic due to a significant increase of referrals from statutory services for support with social issues, housing, benefits, low-level mental health, social isolation, healthy eating, and other lifestyle factors linked to health and wellbeing.
In 2019 Cordis Bright worked with four local social prescribing networks including GPs, community groups, local people and other stakeholders to design a model for social prescribing. The outcome of this work resulted in the Partnership Southwark Social Prescribing Review 2019.
There are many people across the borough who also carry out social prescribing type roles such as hospital discharge coordinators, community support staff and GP practice staff but are not always formally described as social prescribers. These staff advise and signpost people to activities and services and some have connections to Primary Care Network (PCN) link workers.
We are working hard to optimise the benefits of social prescribing for the Southwark population, especially for those with complex needs, within the current system and aim to improve it.
We’d welcome any learning or experience you would like to share either in person at the network meetings or via comments on this site.
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