It is a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector. It is about linking people up to activities in the community that they might benefit from and connecting people to non-medical sources of support. There is increasing evidence to support the use of social interventions for people experiencing a range of common health problems.
A fifth of GP time is spent dealing with patients' social problems, such as debt, isolation, housing, and employment. The aim of the practice is to empower the practice team by breaking down the barriers with other sectors, whether social care, community care or mental health providers, so that social prescribing becomes a normal part of our role as a primary care medical practice.
The Patient Services Team at Hope Farm have undergone extensive sign posting training and have a huge amount of knowledge and experience to offer patients. If you are struggling with any social problem such as loneliness, debt or housing problems please speak to a member of the Patient Services Team to ensure we can refer you to the correct professional to help resolve your problem; this may not require an appointment with a GP if we can help intervene at an early stage.
Within the Patient Service Team at Hope Farm we have a Wellbeing Coordinator, Carer Links, Dementia Links and Patient Buddies to assist you in accessing the correct professional. But what does each of these roles do?
Gemma Smith is our resident Wellbeing Coordinator at the practice. Her role is about social input; some people have described her as an interface between patients and local organisations. Gemma makes referrals and signposts people to help them become more aware of what’s happening and available in their local community. She refers into other organisations or projects for things like benefits, housing issues, social outlets and activities. At times it could be more in connection with practical issues like transport or mobility issues, other times it might be about helping individuals put forms of support in place for themselves or a relative. Gemma supports patients in different ways in the form of home visits and usually works with people between a 6-8 week period but often this changes depending on circumstances, the wellbeing service will be as flexible as possible to create a form of support. You don’t need a GP appointment to be referred to the Wellbeing Coordinator just speak to the Patient Services Team.
Within the practice we have three Carer Links (Maggie, Angela and Amanda) who help to identify and support carers within the practice and ensure you are able to receive a range of support on offer and are able to refer you to the Carers Trust for more 1-2-1 support. If you would like more support or assistance as a carer please ask to speak with a Carer Link.
Within the practice we have two dementia links (Sue and Tim) that can help to support people with dementia or who are caring for someone with dementia by signposting them to a range of services available or local organisations or activities. If you are affected by dementia in anyway and would like some advice and support please ask to speak to one of our Dementia Links.
The practice has a patient buddy system in operation to help anyone who is struggling with any aspect of accessing the practice and needing assistance. This could vary from help with using the patient self check-in screen to help with registering for and using our online service - Patient Access. If you need assistance with any aspect of your contact with the practice please don’t struggle in silence, but ask to speak to a Patient Buddy so we can ‘support our patients every step of the way’. The Patient Buddy is not a format for registering a complaint; please see our complaints procedure for the complaints pathway.