DHSC reveals social prescribing schemes to benefit from £4.5m funding

The DHSC has announced details of the 23 social prescribing schemes in England that will be allocated funding from the £4.5m announced last month.

Many of the schemes are aimed at tackling social isolation and health ineqaulities (Photo: iStock.com)
Many of the schemes are aimed at tackling social isolation and health ineqaulities (Photo: iStock.com)

Last month the DHSC said the extra money would allow GPs to refer more patients to social activities and other types of support to improve health and reduce demand on the NHS.

The funding is coming from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector. Each project will be fully fund for the first year, and a process of joint funding between the Health and Wellbeing Fund and local commissioners will be agreed for the following two years.

The funding will help the projects to either set up new schemes or extend existing ones. Some of the initiatives are based in GP surgeries, while others are schemes that GPs or practice staff could signpost patients to.

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How social prescribing can help GPs

Last month, GPonline revealed that one in four of GPs regularly use social prescribing. Social prescribing is one of NHS England's 10 'high impact actions', identified to help free up GPs' time to deliver more clinical care.

Earlier this year the RCGP called for dedicated social prescribing staff to be integrated into all practices. The college's analysis of the 10 high impact actions concluded that social prescribing was among the most effective at reducing GP workload.

Social prescribing

The schemes that have been awarded funding are:

  • Age UK Sunderland, which provides information, early interventions and flexible low-level community-based support to adults who do not require intensive or specialised care from statutory services.
  • Brighton and Hove Impetus, which is focused on providing support for those affected by health inequalities.
  • Charlton Athletic Community Trust in south London. Based in seven GP surgeries and expanding to a further 10, this scheme mostly focuses on helping individuals who regularly visit their GP to better manage their health.
  • Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire and South Northamptonshire, which focuses on supporting those who are lonely or socially isolated.
  • Citizens Advice Waltham Forest, London, which supports activities for vulnerable patients and residents.
  • Citizen’s Advice Bureau Wirral, for a new joint scheme run with Age UK to provide social prescribing link workers across three GP localities.
  • Dudley Council for Voluntary Service provides an A&E high intensity social prescribing scheme to address the lack of support for people who are high users of emergency services.
  • Health Exchange in Birmingham is a new scheme that will covers a large number of practices across the city serving 400,000 patients and provide access to community link workers and a digital hub.
  • Imago Community, Dartford and Gravesham in Kent will expand an existing scheme to reach 36 GP practices and identify patients with multiple conditions and complex care needs and provide additional support.
  • Involve Kent a scheme a new scheme covering five GP practices, which will have a dedicated ‘involve co-ordinator’ to provide holistic support, advice and information.
  • Mental Health Concern, Newcastle and East Gateshead will use the funding to develop physical activities, access to green space and social inclusion for patients with long-term conditions, low mood and depression.
  • Nova Wakefield District Ltd, West Yorkshire will expand its scheme for young adults living with mental health or learning difficulties.
  • People Potential Possibilities, Milton Keynes, which aims to build on an existing service for high-intensity users of NHS to reduce demand on GPs.
  • Redbridge Council for Voluntary Service, London provides a scheme that will be expanding to cover all 44 GP surgeries in the borough. It focuses on adults with any low-level mental health concerns, social isolation or type 2 diabetes.
  • South Liverpool Citizen’s Advice Bureau, which provides supported access to wellbeing activities as well as pathways to volunteering, employment, enterprise, education and learning.
  • South Yorkshire Housing Association has a scheme that aims to prevent hospital admission and accelerate discharge through using motivational interviewing to help people take control of their wellbeing.
  • StreetGames in Sheffield, Southampton, Luton and Brighton and Hove will be funded for a scheme giving extra help to people who struggle to access health services and are most vulnerable to inequalities.
  • The YOU Trust, Portsmouth, which aims to support people who are socially isolated and who frequently use primary or secondary care healthcare provision.
  • Voluntary Support North Surrey, which is aimed at those with chronic conditions.
  • Volunteer Cornwall for an initiative to ensure volunteers can contribute to social prescribing by supporting those on the scheme to access activities and develop new activities.
  • Witton Lodge Community Association, in north Birmingham, which provides creative activities, talking therapies, physical therapies or ‘out and about’, which includes walking or gardening groups.
  • Wolseley Community and Economic Trust, Plymouth, which covers areas of the highest deprivation and aims to reduce health inequalities through providing tailored support.
  • Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, which will focus on early intervention in the most deprived areas of the cit to help improve outcomes.

Full details of the schemes are available here.

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