Social prescribing is not new to the county of Angus. Strong partnership working and respectful collaborations across primary care and third sector have formed part of a vision to create ‘An Angus that actively cares’, which is an integral part of our Health and Social Care Strategic Plan. Angus is mostly a rural county where the population of 106,800 people is anticipated to grow and where demographic forecasts predict an aging population (perhaps more dependent on primary and other care services). There are also increasing challenges concerning to public health where poverty, mental health, alcohol and drug deaths are increasing across the county and in its neighbouring Local Authority, Dundee.
Our Health and Social Care Strategic Plan asserts a move towards local preventative approaches and a higher emphasis on care at home. The role of the third sector, communities and Voluntary Action Angus are integral to the outcomes and significant to primary care to help manage demand and improve the well-being of the communities of Angus.
As part of the Primary Care Improvement Plan, Voluntary Action Angus have been working in partnership with Angus Health and Social Care Partnership to pilot the social prescribing model since 2015. Extensive evidence has been gathered surrounding the role in the effectiveness of supporting wellbeing and independence of those accessing services. The pilot also indicated that the Social Prescribing role helps people access appropriate support and services within local communities and through statutory and third sector services.
Angus Integrated Joint Board and NHS Tayside Local Medical Committee approved the introduction of social prescribing to all of the 16 Angus GP practices as part of its approved Primary Care Improvement Plan.
The recruitment of social prescribers in Angus was undertaken by Voluntary Action Angus. VAA has previously seconded experience practitioners into posts from their own staff team based on their comprehensive knowledge of the third sector, communities and collaborative working. Their skills base and knowledge open up many social prescribing journeys as detailed below. Integral to the options available to the Social Prescriber is a local database (Locality Locator) developed by VAA which not only lists opportunities for our patients but ensure through working with VAA Locality Workers that the opportunities are of quality and ensuring people are supported to take part.
We know that taking care of your health involves more than just medicine. Social Prescribing can provide support for more than medical issues. Your local Social Prescriber will spend time with you exploring what matters to you and help you to identify activities and/or local support which could improve your health and wellbeing. You can consider the benefits of participating in them, and we will assist and support you to plan your next steps.
Benefits of Social Prescribing
How do I access the service? It’s simple. Patients can refer directly via their practice’s reception and ask for an appointment with the Social Prescriber.
Who is it for? Social prescribing is available for everyone.