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Under pressure! How to deliver effective social prescribing

Thinking about implementing, or improving your, social prescribing program? This article gives an outline of the key insights from our recent webinar where Debbie Melling, Community Manager at East Staffordshire PCN, and Alistair Whittle, Head of Growth at Joy, discussed practical tools for effective social prescribing.

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Introduction

Thinking about implementing, or improving your, social prescribing program?

In our recent webinar, Debbie Melling, Community Manager at East Staffordshire PCN, and Alistair Whittle, Head of Growth at Joy, discussed practical tools for effective social prescribing. The session focussed on leveraging various Practice roles including care coordinators and practice admin staff; building relationships with voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations; implementing robust evaluation and leveraging different technologies. The also walked through how social prescribing can provide greater patient access and reduce health inequalities.

Interested? Read a quick summary below or watch the full webinar on demand.

Equipping Reception and Admin staff across practices to support effective care navigation

GP reception staff can plan a pivotal role in effective care navigation. But not without the right support. To do this effectively, you need to provide training and educational support to empower reception staff to guide patients through your social prescribing program. The Joy GP App was used in East Staffordshire to streamline pathways for reception into multiple Services, Joy’s prompts in the Clinical Systems also support reception staff to identify patients who could benefit from social prescribing and confidently inform and refer them into the services available.

Leveraging Care-Coordinators to drive referrals into social prescribing and other personalised care roles.

Care Coordinators have emerged as a powerful force in driving referrals into social prescribing and voluntary care roles. In East Staffordshire, collaborative efforts among mental health coaches, social prescribers and care coordinators have resulted in a team ethos that contributed to creating a robust care model. Joy was able to support in consistent managing and reporting between teams that were using EMIS and SystmOne. The webinar showcased the journey of patients into these services simultaneously, relieving GP workloads and fostering partnerships with external organisations to enhance community outreach.

Building effective relationships with the voluntary and community sector to support patients.

The importance of developing relationships with community services cannot go unmentioned and has been critical to the success of the social prescribing program in East Staffordshire. By gathering information about the services active within the community and onboarding them onto the Joy Marketplace, a collaborative partnership between the local community and the social prescribers formed. The result: Social Prescribers were better equipped to identify and address gaps in service provision. They were then able to invest in services that will tackle these health inequalities and positively impact public health.  

Embedding Evaluation for Continuous Improvement

Through Joy, East Staffs PCN were able to standardise measurements, including referral volumes, impact on health, behaviour change, and reduction in GP demand, from day 1. The periodic feedback loop, reviewed every 3/6 months, demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement of the social prescribing service as well as allowing the team to expand due to the recorded demand and impact.  

Leveraging technology to support social prescribing efforts

The integration of Joy into East Staffordshire’s social prescribing model, particularly the interoperability with EMIS/S1, clinical templates, and real-time reporting, showcased how Joy was able to drive efficiencies in the social prescribing program. Using Joy helped the team to capture data around the reduction in clinical interventions and improved patient well-being.

Conclusion

East Staffs PCN displayed a successful model for reducing footfall in GP practices, addressing health inequalities, and optimising community resources. The results have demonstrated a return on investment and highlighted the collaborative efforts that led to these achievements over the last 12 months.

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