It is estimated that as much as 30% of all people visiting a GP’s surgery are unlikely to benefit from medication. Many are lonely, and depressed and it is now widely acknowledged that drugs are far from an appropriate response. What people are more likely to want is the companionship and challenge that you can get from social activities and the importance of involvement in creative activity is now formally recognised both by government and the NHS.
The introduction of social prescribing is one aspect of this recognition. Social presribing is an approach to improving individual wellbeing that involves a holistic approach and focuses on non pharmacological support that can make a difference. It is implemented by social presribing link workers who are attached to GP surgeries. Within West Kent there is at least one link worker for every primary care network – clusters of GP surgeries, and it is planned that there will be a link worker in every surgery in the future. The link worker works with a client/patient to determine what activities can help to make a difference to their individual wellbeing, linking them to appropriate community activities.
This referral not only benefits the individual, but can benefit the organisation to which the individual is referred. They become new members and in the process enhance the the organisation’s reputation. In West Kent, Involve – based in Maidstone run the social prescribing activity. They maintain a data base of all organisations providing approved actvity. This database is not only available to social presribing link workers but members of the public. It can therefore be an additional source of members.
If you want to know more contact Ken Scott on firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com