Purpose of the role
Social prescribing empowers people to take control of their health and wellbeing through referral to non-medical ‘link workers’ who give time, focus on ‘what matters to me’ and take a holistic approach, connecting people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support. Link workers support existing groups to be accessible and sustainable and help people to start new community groups, working collaboratively with all local partners.
Social prescribing can help to strengthen community resilience and personal resilience, and reduces health inequalities by addressing the wider determinants of health, such as debt, poor housing and physical inactivity, by increasing people’s active involvement with their local communities. It particularly works for people with long-term conditions (including support for mental health), for people who are lonely or isolated, or have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
Proposed salary: Dependent on Skills and Experience
The proposed salary will reflect the complexity of the situations that people present with, and the need for a significant level of multi-agency working, including supporting community groups to receive referrals.
- Take referrals from a wide range of agencies, working with GP practices within primary care networks, pharmacies, multi-disciplinary teams, hospital discharge teams, allied health professionals, fire service, police, job centres, social care services, housing associations, and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations (list not exhaustive).
- Provide personalised support to individuals, their families and carers to take control of their wellbeing, live independently and improve their health outcomes. Develop trusting relationships by giving people time and focus on ‘what matters to me’. Take a holistic approach, based on the person’s priorities and the wider determinants of health. Co-produce a personalised support plan to improve health and wellbeing, introducing or reconnecting people to community groups and statutory services. The role will require managing and prioritising your own caseload, in accordance with the needs, priorities and any urgent support required by individuals on the caseload. It is vital that you have a strong awareness and understanding of when it is appropriate or necessary to refer people back to other health professionals/agencies, when what the person needs is beyond the scope of the link worker role – e.g. when there is a mental health need requiring a qualified practitioner.
- Draw on and increase the strengths and capacities of local communities, enabling local VCSE organisations and community groups to receive social prescribing referrals. Ensure they are supported, have basic safeguarding processes for vulnerable individuals and can provide opportunities for the person to develop friendships, a sense of belonging, and build knowledge, skills and confidence.
- Work together with all local partners to collectively ensure that local VCSE organisations and community groups are sustainable and that community assets are nurtured, by making them aware of small grants or micro-commissioning if available, including providing support to set up new community groups and services, where gaps are identified in local provision.
- Promoting social prescribing, its role in self-management, and the wider determinants of health.
- Build relationships with key staff in GP practices within the local Primary Care Network (PCN), attending relevant meetings, becoming part of the wider network team, giving information and feedback on social prescribing.
- Be proactive in developing strong links with all local agencies to encourage referrals, recognising what they need to be confident in the service to make appropriate referrals.
- Work in partnership with all local agencies to raise awareness of social prescribing and how partnership working can reduce pressure on statutory services, improve health outcomes and enable a holistic approach to care.
- Provide referral agencies with regular updates about social prescribing, including training for their staff and how to access information to encourage appropriate referrals.
- Seek regular feedback about the quality of service and impact of social prescribing on referral agencies.
- Be proactive in encouraging self-referrals and connecting with all local communities, particularly those communities that statutory agencies may find hard to reach.
Provide personalised support
- Meet people on a one-to-one basis, making home visits where appropriate within organisations’ policies and procedures.
- Give people time to tell their stories and focus on ‘what matters to me’.
- Build trust with the person, providing non-judgemental support, respecting diversity and lifestyle choices.
- Work from a strength-based approach focusing on a person’s assets.
- Be a friendly source of information about wellbeing and prevention approaches.
- Help people identify the wider issues that impact on their health and wellbeing, such as debt, poor housing, being unemployed, loneliness and caring responsibilities.
- Work with the person, their families and carers and consider how they can all be supported through social prescribing.
- Help people maintain or regain independence through living skills, adaptations, enablement approaches and simple safeguards.
- Work with individuals to co-produce a simple personalised support plan – based on the person’s priorities, interests, values and motivations – including what they can expect from the groups, activities and services they are being connected to and what the person can do for themselves to improve their health and wellbeing.
- Where appropriate, physically introduce people to community groups, activities and statutory services, ensuring they are comfortable. Follow up to ensure they are happy, able to engage, included and receiving good support.
- Where people may be eligible for a personal health budget, help them to explore this option as a way of providing funded, personalised support to be independent, including helping people to gain skills for meaningful employment, where appropriate.
Support community groups and VCSE organisations to receive referrals
- Forge strong links with local VCSE organisations, community and neighbourhood level groups, utilising their networks and building on what’s already available to create a map or menu of community groups and assets. Use these opportunities to promote micro-commissioning or small grants if available.
- Develop supportive relationships with local VCSE organisations, community groups and statutory services, to make timely, appropriate and supported referrals for the person being introduced.
- Ensure that local community groups and VCSE organisations being referred to have basic procedures in place for ensuring that vulnerable individuals are safe and, where there are safeguarding concerns, work with all partners to deal appropriately with issues. Where such policies and procedures are not in place, support groups to work towards this standard before referrals are made to them.
- Check that community groups and VCSE organisations meet in insured premises and that health and safety requirements are in place. Where such policies and procedures are not in place, support groups to work towards this standard before referrals are made to them.
- Support local groups to act in accordance with information governance policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act.
Work collectively with all local partners to ensure community groups are strong and sustainable
- Work with commissioners and local partners to identify unmet needs within the community and gaps in community provision.
- Support local partners and commissioners to develop new groups and services where needed, through small grants for community groups, micro-commissioning and development support.
- Develop a team of volunteers within your service to provide ‘buddying support’ for people, starting new groups and finding creative community solutions to local issues.
- Encourage people, their families and carers to provide peer support and to do things together, such as setting up new community groups or volunteering.
- Provide a regular ‘confidence survey’ to community groups receiving referrals, to ensure that they are strong, sustained and have the support they need to be part of social prescribing.
- Encourage people who have been connected to community support through social prescribing to volunteer and give their time freely to others, in order to build their skills and confidence, and strengthen community resilience.
- Work sensitively with people, their families and carers to capture key information, enabling tracking of the impact of social prescribing on their health and wellbeing.
- Encourage people, their families and carers to provide feedback and to share their stories about the impact of social prescribing on their lives.
- Support referral agencies to provide appropriate information about the person they are referring. Use the case management system to track the person’s progress. Provide appropriate feedback to referral agencies about the people they referred.
Please apply online to email@example.com with a copy of your CV and stating how you meet the requirements for this post. Closing date for applications will be 5:00 pm on Sunday 13th June 2021
Job description and person specification