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Social Prescribing called a huge success in Cornwall

Just what the doctor ordered

Social prescribing is a part of the NHS long term plan, replacing a one-size-fits all approach with care that is tailored to people’s own mental and physical needs, and recognises that health is not just physical but emotional and social too. Social prescribing enables local GPs and other local agencies to refer people to link workers, who operate at the heart of primary care.  They provide specialist support to individuals who need more than just medical care to help them live healthier, more fulfilling lives. By spending time with a person, they help to unpick the things that may be holding them back and help them identify and connect up with organisations and activities in their community.

Social prescribing link workers work with a large number of individuals to help them realise their goals, overcome barriers and access specialist local services to improve their quality of life.

Who is it for?

Social prescribing is suitable for a wide range of people, including people with one or more long-term condition, those who need support with their mental health, those who are lonely or isolated, or those who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

Social prescribing is a key component of Universal Personalised Care.

Benefits for patients

The positive impact has had direct benefits for patients.

  • Time with an appropriate clinician.
  • Better availability of GP appointments.
  • Increased choice as a result of being better informed of the different services and healthcare professionals they can see.
  • A quicker and more efficient service e.g. timelier turnaround of repeat prescription requests, referrals to other services.

Loneliness can be cured without medicine

  • The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years  (Age UK 2018, All The Lonely People)
  • There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (Office for National Statistics 2010. General Lifestyle Survey 2008).
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age, U.K., 2014. Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life. London: Age UK).
  • There are over 2.2 million people aged 75 and over living alone in Great Britain, an increase of almost a quarter (24%) over the past 20 years (ONS).
  • A survey by Action for Children found that 43% of 17 – 25 year olds who used their service had experienced problems with loneliness, and that of this same group less than half said they felt loved.
  • Action for Children have also reported 24% of parents surveyed said they were always or often lonely.
  • Research by Sense has shown that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.

© East Cornwall Primary Care Network 2020

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