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Tackling health inequalities through innovation in social prescribing

Published on 26 September 2022 01:20 PM

Healthy London Partnership has announced 12 London-based organisations as the first cohort of its brand-new Social Prescribing Innovators Programme, which aims to improve the delivery of social prescribing services in primary care.

Social Prescribing projects in Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Lambeth, Camden, Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and City & Hackney will receive six months dedicated coaching, quality improvement training, wrap-around support and up to £10,000 funding each to help reduce the health inequalities experienced by Londoners most in need of support. 

The projects will each work on different challenges, including:

  • reducing loneliness and isolation in black and minority ethnic communities
  • providing services for people who are frequent attenders at their GPs
  • improving access to supports for people who are unregistered with the NHS, including migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers
  • providing improved specialist support for people who experience severe mental ill health
  • supporting people experience social and material deprivation, particularly during the current cost of living crisis.
  • improving the support for recruiting and retaining social prescribing link workers, and promoting the existence of SP services in communities
  • demonstrating the impact of social prescribing services

Dr Jagan John, Clinical Director for Personalised Care in London, and Chair of the North East London Clinical Commissioning Group, says the programme will unleash powerful ideas from London’s vibrant social prescribing workforce to help overcome some of the implementation challenges of expanding delivery into London’s primary care networks.

“Social prescribing link workers, when based as part of the multi-disciplinary team in primary care networks, can really tackle the health inequalities many Londoners face. Yet time and again we hear how difficult it is to recruit and retain people with the right skills, set up hubs in the right locations, or link to appropriate services in communities outside the health service. This programme will give talented individuals and teams the opportunity to have the support they need to test out new ideas for making sure we can roll out social prescribing right across London, taking a holistic approach to even more people’s health and wellbeing while easing the pressure on the NHS.”

The results of the pilot programme will be shared in March next year. The innovative solutions developed by those who take part will be shared with all those interested in mainstreaming social prescribing across London’s primary care services and beyond.

To find out more, including a programme brochure and information about the projects teams, visit our Personalised Care project page and follow progress on Twitter @SP_LDN #SPInnovators