Hilary Benn MP in Leeds social prescribing visit

Woodhouse Medical Practice hosted a visit from Hilary Benn MP on Friday 4 October, who came along to find out more about how social prescribing helps people in the city.

Tim Ryley (Chief Executive, NHS Leeds CCG), Hilary Benn (MP for Leeds Central) and Dr Mohammed Sattar (GP at Woodhouse Medical Practice)

The visit gave the MP a chance to find out more about Linking Leeds the new citywide service that launched on 1 September.

The service has received £4.5m worth of funding from NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for a three year contract.

Social prescribing helps support people who see their GP about issues which are not directly related to medical conditions and is designed to combat anxiety, loneliness and depression.

Tim Ryley, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds CCG, said: “We were delighted to welcome Hilary Benn MP to Leeds to find out more about our ground-breaking service that helps around 5,000 people every year. Our investment demonstrates that social prescribing makes a real difference to people’s lives and shows how important it is for us to work with community and voluntary groups in the city.”

Dr Mohammed Sattar,  GP at Woodhouse Medical Practice, commented: “Our first hand experience of social prescribing closely matches the evidence that shows the positive impact this approach also has on freeing up the time of GPs as people access support that is better suited to meet their needs. As a GP practice we always look to do more with our local community and groups supporting people in the area. We wanted to show Hilary Benn MP the value of social prescribing for people working in primary care.”

Ruth Kettle, Chief Executive for Inspire North (the parent company of Community Links and Foundation) added: “We are absolutely delighted to be leading this new citywide service made up of some great community organisations who have all been delivering social prescribing in Leeds for some years. We hope that Hilary Benn MP left the day feeling inspired after hearing from our wellbeing co-ordinators and listening to real life examples of the impact the service has made locally.”

The new citywide Linking Leeds service launched on 1 September 2019 replacing the three previous schemes – Connect Well (covering north Leeds) Connect for Health (covering south and east Leeds) and the Patient Empowerment Project (covering west Leeds).

More information on Linking Leeds is available by visiting www.commlinks.co.uk/services/leeds/linking-leeds/