While the NHS is vital for protecting the health of the country, there are some areas of wellbeing that are simply beyond its scope – from economic and environmental factors to a range of social issues.
Social prescribing helps by connecting patients with life-changing services led by the voluntary and charity sector. It empowers GPs, nurses and other primary care-professionals to look outside of the NHS and take a more holistic approach to patients’ treatment.
This works fantastically when it’s treated as a true partnership between the NHS and the local voluntary sector. Not only do patients receive additional support through these services, but the charities receive increased visibility and the NHS benefits because patients who feel healthier rely on them much less.
For this partnership to thrive, it’s essential that the conversation around social prescribing includes people with extensive experience working within the community and who have developed the necessary local knowledge and relationships.
Anything less risks overwhelming the voluntary sector, ill-fitting referrals for patients or the cannibalisation of much needed funding for local charity organisations – especially in the face of increased pressure for NHS trusts to replicate the social prescribing model in-house
The first national day for Social Prescribing is 14th March 2019 – what are you doing to mark it?