Have your say on social prescribing services in Leeds

We'd like to know what you think about social prescribing services so we can use your feedback to help shape a single service model for the city.

Social prescribing is a way of enabling health professionals to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-medical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector, such as walking groups, healthy lifestyle classes, debt management, support groups and so on.

The service enables GPs, nurses, and social care professionals to provide patients with  ‘prescriptions’ for activities.  A link worker spends time with the person referred to agree a plan to help improve their health and wellbeing; time spent with each person will depend on their needs and ranges from simple signposting to a full assessment and support.

In Leeds, there are currently three social prescribing schemes, receiving over 4000 referrals each year. Once the current contracts come to an end in August 2019, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) intends to commission a city wide social prescribing service model for Leeds.  To do this, they want to hear from people about what they would like to see included in the service by completing a short survey.

Insight from service users has been key to developing the current social prescribing services, which have been successful in improving people’s wellbeing and quality of life and are highly regarded by staff who refer into the services.

Dr Gordon Sinclair, Chair of NHS Leeds CCG and a GP at Burton Croft medical centre in Headingley, said:  “As a GP, I see patients with a wide range of complex issues, not all of which are medical but that may be impacting their health.

“If someone is very worried about debt or is feeling isolated, they may have physical symptoms that I can treat but the underlying cause won’t go away and their overall health and wellbeing may not improve. Being able to refer them to a debt management service or a support group, for example, means they can address the root problem. They can start to take more control over their health and have a range of choices not previously available within the NHS.”

The CCG is asking anyone with an interest in social prescribing to help shape the new the new citywide service model by taking part in a survey – www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/socialprescribing