The UK government reported that “The National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) has been awarded £5 million in funding to support people to stay connected and maintain their health and wellbeing following the COVID-19 pandemic.” Funding will be used to help aid in recovery and tackle things like loneliness with the use of a variety of projects. This could include football matches to inspire teamwork and friendship, art to tackle the frustration related to dementia, or singing to relieve stress. The academy will support a variety of local community activities, working in partnership with Arts Council England, Natural England, Money and Pensions Service, NHS Charities Together, Sport England and NHS England.
Social Prescribing solutions are designed to help “patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services” provided locally. Anyone could benefit from social prescribing schemes as they support a range of social, emotional, and practical needs, but they are of particular use to individuals with complex needs and mild or long-term health conditions. These services take into consideration the many factors that can affect people’s health and wellbeing, including social, economic, and environmental, aiming to address these with a more holistic approach. Ultimately, Social Prescribing aims to instil individuals with a greater sense of control of their own health.
The Importance of Social Prescribing Solutions
As we navigate a world forever changed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of services such as those offered by Social Prescribing organisations, has become even more apparent. Often referred to as a community referral, Social Prescribing provides individuals with the means to access the advice and assistance of health professionals who can help them utilise local, non-clinical services, therefore taking pressure off the NHS by generally spreading the work amongst other professionals working within primary care settings.
Social Prescribing solutions are necessary because there are a variety of human issues that might not require medical attention, medication, or hospital treatment, but do require the patience, expertise and advice of a healthcare professional. Dr Polley, commenting on a College of Medicine article, explained that “around 20% of people who go and visit a GP don’t have directly medical needs, they don’t necessarily need a pharmaceutical drug prescribed – but they do need support.” The power of a “link worker,” is their ability to be the “bringers of hope” because often they can offer up more of their time to an individual in need than a GP, allowing them to get to the bottom of complex situations without the pressing concern of hundreds or more patients requiring their services that day.
A common theme between some Social Prescribing solutions is harnessing the power of nature, encouraging service users to embrace projects involving gardening and getting outdoors for fresh air or long walks, to encourage a reflective and healing state of mind. The BBC reports that NHS prescriptions for gardening and dancing are “vitally needed” to help tackle rising levels of loneliness after lockdown.
Loneliness is often regarded as an issue for the older generation, but the pandemic has proved that feelings of intense isolation can affect anyone and everyone at any given time. This information spurred the Welsh government into placing Social Prescribing on their list of priorities for the next five years, as they investigate its impact on mental health. According to Mind Cymru, “social prescribing has been adapted to help those with mental health problems over the phone or online, providing support and strategies to help.” Social Prescribing Solutions are now discussed more at government level, and this focus has resulted in additional funding and resources across the board.
Serving the Community
365 Response has always proudly supported the most vulnerable communities within our society. Whether that means assisting the NHS with the delivery of Covid vaccines, helping St Helens Council to manage school transport and health and community referrals, or Community Transport Glasgow with the delivery of free meals to those who need it most. Our innovative software can be used to manage a range of transportation services, but we do more than just transport solutions.
The 365 Response Social Prescribing Platform is a dynamic, cloud-based wellbeing and social prescribing referral, assessment, appointment, and outcome management solution. The tools empower and bring together health and wellbeing coaches, care coordinators, GPs, Pharmacists, and other care providers in the community to provide their vital services using smart, effective, and cutting-edge software built by and for health and wellbeing professionals. A flexible, fully configurable solution that allows our customers to deliver a wide range of courses and programmes such as smoking cessation, weight management, independent travel training, alcohol reduction, exercise services and other health, wellbeing and behaviour change services across the UK.
Service users can self-register online, complete bespoke eligibility processes, apply to relevant courses and manage their own health and wellbeing journey via an online interactive portal. Our advanced reporting model analyses key data and metrics for robust reports and dashboards that can be shared with commissioners to present success rates across services. We understand the importance of dedicating our time to supporting services that support you.
Social Prescribing Solutions and Beyond
The 365 Transport Management System is award-winning for a reason and continues to gain favour with a multitude of customers, including Local Authorities, Private Transport Providers, and NHS organisations because of its use of best-in-class technology that puts the true needs of its users at the forefront. Our software is known for its flexibility. As your organisation adapts to the needs and requirements of its users, so do our digital solutions.
As the UK begins to open and restrictions start to ease, having the option to organise outdoor meetings for groups is one of the small ways the pressure has eased off these services, but it isn’t enough on its own. There must be a partnership between the NHS, the government, and the communities that provide these Social Prescribing solutions to effectively integrate and work together, providing the best care that they can to those around them. The recent additional funding that’s been provided is one small step, albeit a national one, that supports this initiative. By 2023, it’s predicted that “around 900,000 people will be referred to a link worker for social prescribing, reducing pressure on health services by 20 per cent. Long-term, it’s estimated that social prescribing could save the NHS billions.” With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to make sure that we’re all prepared. We know just the place to start…
If you’re looking for a better way to manage your referrals, get in touch! We offer expert advice and guidance to improve your processes. You can reach us via email at [email protected] or call us on 0333 2027 365.