Prescription for Wellbeing
From 2014 right up to the present day (2018/19) the CCG has worked with local Councils for Volunteer Services (CVS) to run a scheme of social prescribing. In East Lancashire we call this Prescription for Wellbeing and the CCG appointed Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Hyndburn and Ribble Valley CVS to run this through a small grants programme across East Lancashire. As a Social Prescribing Grants Scheme, the programme aims to fund small, local voluntary and community organisations to provide socially orientated support to meet local needs and make a positive difference to the lives and wellbeing of people locally. This is an example of coprodution as the the CCG worked with people and communities, alongside the two CVS organisations to respond to a need in all of our communities. This is that people sometimes need "more than medicine" and yet when they feel out of sorts the first place to go to is either their GP or A&E. The idea of this scheme is that the CCG working with the voluntary, community and faith sector has not only identified this, but developed a scheme that meets and addresses this need.
In 2018 we held our third celebration event and the CVS's produced a detailed report of progress. We even got a mention as good practice in Michael Marmott's review of health inequalities - see the story here.
What is Social Prescribing?
Social prescribing (sometimes called Community Referral) is a method of teaming people with mild to moderate health problems up with non-medical sources of support available within their community. It can be defined as 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. Those services can include everything from debt counselling, support groups and walking clubs, to community cooking classes and one-to-one peer mentoring. Social prescriptions can be seen as a natural extension to information prescriptions, which are tailored information given to patients to help them make informed choices about their care and access a wider range of services, such as social care, housing and leisure services. There is a growing acceptance in the medical community that people who lead happy and active social lives enjoy better health than those who do not. Whilst medical interventions are of course necessary to treat specific conditions or health problems, the importance of strong social networks, access to friends, family and support, and an active social life should not be underestimated. Evidence shows for instance that people who have a strong social support means are more likely to take prescribed medicines, and that exercise reduces the likelihood of people recovering from depression. The main goal of social prescribing is to promote better patient outcomes, whether that is reduced heart disease, better management of diabetes, or improved mental health. But importantly in this climate of reducing budgets and increasing demands in the NHS, they are also part of concerted efforts to reduce the number of referrals into hospitals (secondary care) or uptake of more costly interventions. Research has shown that these approaches can lead to more appropriate use of health care professionals’ time, and reduce unnecessary medical prescribing.
Who can apply to the Grant Programme?
The grants are being made available to community projects in Burnley, Pendle & Rossendale. A similar scheme is available in Hyndburn and Ribblesdale and is administered by Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Council for Voluntary Service. For projects covering more than one district please speak to a member of CVS staff before submitting an application. Applicants must be a constituted voluntary, community, faith group, a registered charity, not for profit and have appropriate governance in place, including the policies and procedures required to deliver the service being offered. Copies may be requested as necessary but please note that your local CVS may visit the group to monitor the policies in place and ensure appropriate governance structure. If necessary, support can be provided. Applicants must be able to comply with the required monitoring and evaluation which will also need to show how they work with their local CVS and other agencies to link into GP practices and other primary care bodies.
The scheme operates in all parts of East Lancashire - follow the links below for more information: