Sometimes people visit their GP with problems caused, or made worse by non-medical issues. This could arise from financial worries, isolation, loneliness or simply lack of confidence. Or perhaps a physical health condition could be improved by getting fit or more mobile.
The social prescribing approach aims to treat the person and not just the illness, so you may be referred to a Link Worker, who will help uncover the issues and work with you to find the right support.
This may be help to get started with social, creative or physical activities, or find advice on housing, benefits and finances, or suggest effective ways to look after yourself if you have a long term health condition.
The NHS Long Term Plan committed to building the infrastructure for social prescribing in primary care. Each Primary Care Network (PCNs) in Northumberland has recruited at least one social prescribing link worker to be a part of their multi-disciplinary team.
In addition to supporting PCNs, the CCG has led the development of a Social Prescribing Steering Group for Northumberland, working together with partners across the health, social care and voluntary and community sectors to join up all of the roles involved in social prescribing. The Steering Group was established in April 2019 and meets on a quarterly basis.
Who would provide support?
If you need extra help and individual support you may be referred to a designated Link Worker who will help identify a suitable way forward based on what you personally want to achieve.
You may also meet Support Planners, Health Trainers and Locality Coordinators. They have separate roles but liaise closely since they all seek to improve health and wellbeing by guiding individuals towards the right solutions for their needs.
Some GP practices may direct you to Care Navigators, they are trained to quickly signpost you to the most appropriate professional or service. This may be within the practice or other NHS settings, or social care or in the community. Please ask your practice receptionist for details.