Redbridge CVS

Redbridge Social Prescribing Service

Role: Shahida Begum (Social Prescribing Programme Manager) Date: Sept. 2020

The Redbridge Social Prescribing service is jointly funded by London Borough of Redbridge and Redbridge CCG and operates across all 42 GP practices in the borough.

Our Service

Redbridge CVS has been involved with the service since its inception in 2016.

We were successful in receiving funding from the Department of Health and Social Care in 2018 for four years, with match funding from London Borough of Redbridge and Redbridge CCG. Beyond the four-year match funding, we’ve received commitment from our Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group to sustain the service.

"We focus on a motivational and behaviour change approach to support patients to identify barriers and implement positive changes."

Our Delivery Model

GPs can refer their patients to us for a 12-week intensive Social Prescribing intervention.

Our Social Prescribing Project Co-ordinator assigns each new patient to a Social Prescribing Advisor, taking into account their language needs, life experience, locality etc.

Our team of trained Social Prescribing Advisors (Link Workers) support the patient to develop a personalised action plan to access community-based services that support their health and wellbeing. Our Advisors provide face-to-face assessments, and focus on a motivational and behaviour change approach to support the patients to lead on identifying barriers and implementing positive changes.

As well as supporting the logistical process of making referrals to relevant services, our Advisors are supported by Health Buddies (flexible workers) who also provide practical support by attending services with the patients where it is required.

After the 12-week intervention we provide patients with an exit support pack consisting of information relevant to the patient’s progress to sustain change. Our Advisors will also meet with the patient six months later to follow up.

"We set up a multi-stakeholder Social Prescribing Board to maintain a joined-up approach."

Key factors to achieving successful partnership working

We set up a multi-stakeholder Social Prescribing Board in 2016 that draws representatives from the Council (various departments from social services, housing etc), GPs, CCG, fire service, the Metropolitan Police, leisure services, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Redbridge CVS.

This Board continues to meet on a quarterly basis, and provides a platform for everyone to have an overview of the social prescribing service in the borough, and to maintain a joined-up approach.

As a result, service co-ordination has been streamlined and service users have benefited from this, as we’re able to refer them to the right services that meet their health and wellbeing needs.

Our Reporting & Impact

We produce a quarterly report and present this to the Social Prescribing Board, as well as to the Department of Health and Social Care. This consists of referral numbers, referral reasons, patient demographics, services referred to, challenges and learning and patient case studies.

We currently use a number of outcome measures:

Barriers to social prescribing for the VCSE sector

A key barrier for the VCSE sector, and specifically to Redbridge, is the availability of relevant VCSE services. There’s an evident gap in key services needed to make social prescribing a success for beneficiaries.

A social prescribing service can work with clients to support them to access appropriate services – but if there are difficulties accessing VCSE services (due to them being de-funded, or overwhelmed in terms of capacity), then this is a real issue.

This diminishes the hard work of the social prescribing service, and makes the service ineffective for its desired impact.

We have a Fundraising and Development Officer at Redbridge CVS, so we’re able to provide one-to-one fundraising support to the voluntary and community groups in the borough.

Some groups have also expressed a need for training on social prescribing, and the support needs of social prescribing clients, and find it very useful when we organise networking events. A great example of this is the annual Social Prescribing Day.

How commissioners can improve engagement with the VCSE sector

There’s a real need for funding to enable VCSE services to be able to take on referrals, sustain service users, and continue to provide their services.

Gaps in services need to be recognised, and then funding put in place to start new services – as well as funding to increase the capacity of the voluntary and community sector.

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