Social prescribing – just what the doctor ordered!

Release Date: 03 October 2017

A new pilot service has been introduced in Barnes to help improve patients’ wellbeing by prescribing social and leisure activities, volunteering opportunities or well-being activities, as well as dealing with medical needs.

Social prescribing supports people in a holistic way. It enables everyone to have greater control over their own health, recognising that people’s health can be affected by social, economic and environmental factors.

Local charity Richmond AID, has been commissioned by the Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Richmond Council to run a six month trial for Barnes residents.

During this time, GPs, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals in the Barnes area will be able to refer people to a range of non-clinical services.

For six months, health professionals, including GPs and pharmacists, will be able to refer people to a Community Navigator from Richmond AID, who will assess their need.

Support could then be offered ranging from volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

Cllr David Marlow, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, said:

“This pilot has been launched as part of the Village Planning Programme.

“Together with the local CCG and Richmond AID we have designed a scheme that will help those people who are struggling with issues which are not medical but can still significantly impact on their daily lives.

“The service will also help those who are feeling socially isolated and vulnerable by introducing them to a range of community groups who may be able to help.

“If successful, we will consider rolling it out across the borough.”

Dr Kate Moore, who is vice clinical chair of Richmond CCG and one of the borough’s GPs said:

“I am really pleased that we are piloting social prescribing in Glebe Road, Barnes Surgery and Essex House, in Barnes.

"Many people come to see us with problems that don’t need medicine. They might be feeling isolated and lonely, leading unhealthy lifestyles or they might have housing problems, for example.

"During the pilot we will be gathering feedback from local people to help us evaluate if social prescribing is of value for local people. An evaluation will be carried out to understand its impact on the patient, practices involved and the local community.”

Lucy Byrne from Richmond AID, added:

“The Social Prescribing project has the potential to support people in a holistic way that enables GP practices to address the social and well-being needs as well as the medical needs of the person. Social Prescribing will highlight the enormous potential that the voluntary and community sector can bring to people and creates a connection between primary care and community services and support.

“The project has the potential to reduce urgent care admissions in hospital and reduce the number of GP visits, but most importantly, to improve the health and wellbeing of people. Richmond AID are delighted to be working with Richmond CCG on this project.”

For more information, visit the Richmond AID website.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P460/17

Updated: 16 October 2017