Patients visit their GPs for a range of different reasons and sometimes these issues can be caused by non-medical matters such as loneliness, anxiety or debt. A GP may be able to offer advice or medication to manage the physical or mental impact of these issues but they often cannot help patients to deal with the underlying problem.
Social Prescribing links patients with appropriate, non-medical individual support and advice. In the same way that a patient with a prescription can get their medication easily from a pharmacist, they will be able to quickly access the services that will help them.
This isn’t about stopping appropriate medication. Social prescribing will compliment GP services and will offer additional options for patients.
If a GP deals with the “what?”, social prescribers deal with the “why?”.
Social prescribing is not about quick fixes but it does have a positive impact. Evidence shows that the people who benefit most from suitable referrals to social prescribing initiatives are those who are vulnerable or at risk. This can include people with mild depression, low income single parents, recently bereaved older people and people with long term conditions.
Social prescribing has been described as having the potential to improve mental health outcomes, reduce demand on services, improve community wellbeing and resilience and reduce social exclusion.
Dr Hendow’s surgery in the Bransholme area of Hull has been running a social prescribing programme since 2014. This video discusses the benefits it has bought to patients.
Social prescribing in Hull
Social prescribing is mainly offered in the community, in other words patients attend services offered by community and voluntary organisations outside of medical settings.
Connect Well Hull is a free and confidential service for people who live in Hull or are registered with a Hull GP. The service provides support and an opportunity for you to access services which will will:
- Help you get active and feel better.
- Make you feel more linked in with your community.
- Offer support with physical conditions or emotional difficulties.
- Provide the advice you need on issues like money or housing.
You can contact the service directly without having to go through your GP.
Click here to learn more about Connect Well Hull, the services it offers and how you can make an appointment.