This World Mental Health Day we have asked groups and organisations who work with those suffering with their mental health to put together a blog detailing who they are, what they do and the support they can offer to the individuals and communities in Milton Keynes.
Read more to find out about Social Prescribing in Milton Keynes from a Social Prescribing Link Worker …
‘Social Prescribing is an approach to empower people to have the best wellbeing possible through engagement with the community.’
Social Prescribing was introduced in London in 2016 when a priest was noticing the health inequalities in his parish and wanted to help to reduce these and the impact it had on the mental and physical wellbeing of his parishioners. Since then, it has become a nationwide service for patients within GP practices as a holistic way to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
This philosophy has been embraced within the NHS and at The Bridge PCN (Newport Pagnell Medical Centre and Kingfisher Surgery) in Milton Keynes. We have been doing this for four years and we are getting excellent results for our patients.
We know when everything in our lives is going well, we feel great, however when issues are not being addressed, through a gap in a service for example, or you get the feeling you do not know where to turn to, this can cause a huge negative impact on our wellbeing. Health professionals are recognising the social prescribing need when their patients come for their appointments, and they can readily refer to us for the extra support they need.
As social prescribing link workers, we can give patients more time to discuss the problems they are
facing and really delve into the issues to help to reach long term solutions. Our aim is to link patients to their community services, if you are isolated, lonely or have housing or money issues for example. We help to facilitate personalised outcomes to improve/maintain health and wellbeing using community connections; research and make sure services/community resources are appropriate and details are accurate before signposting. We also link and network with other services, agencies, and charities and identify gaps in community groups. In addition to this we carry out partnership work with other Health and Social Care Professionals to provide the best care possible.
We receive referrals from GPs, nurses, physio therapists and other health professionals in the medical centres we work in. These are referrals for things the doctor or other health professionals are unable to help with – nonmedical/ nonclinical needs that we all have, which impact on our general health and wellbeing.
Who is this for?
- People who need short term intervention to improve their health and wellbeing
- People living with more than one long term condition for example: heart disease, diabetes, COPD, Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, Arthritis
- People with complicated social circumstances for example homelessness, chaotic lifestyle, poor housing, poverty, domestic abuse, migrant
- Frail older people for example: muscle weakness, sight impairment, poor mobility, hearing impairment, housebound, tiredness
- People suffering from loneliness, isolation, bereavement, finance troubles, housing issues
- People with low level managed mental health difficulties
This is not an exhaustive list as there are many reasons for referrals, however this will give you an
idea of who we support.
We help enable patients to improve their health and wellbeing by giving our patients time to talk with us over the telephone, home visits, consultations in the surgery or where they feel comfortable to meet. We can facilitate a personalised care and support plan and goals which can/will empower our patients to take active steps to meet their health and well-being goals.
We help to:
- Enable patients to access community groups and health and social services.
- Support with connecting patients to others in similar situations.
- Provide practical help with tasks e.g., giving you useful information.
We can make referrals to other services within primary care such as: mental health, occupational therapy, physio and much more.
It is short term support that is hopefully exponential outside of Social Prescribing support; however, if we have discharged a patient who may need further social prescribing support in the future, i.e. one issue may have been supported but others arise; then our patients can self-refer back to us directly, or go back to their GP surgery for another referral.
To access the service, they will need to be registered at a surgery. If they do not have a fixed address, there are ‘Safe Surgeries’ such as Newport Pagnell Medical Centre, who have removed this health inequality so access can be made to medical support, as well as the additional role support services like Social Prescribing.
If within the community, you feel anyone may benefit from social prescribing please signpost them to their GP surgery.