As you may be aware, the NHS Long Term Plan was published last month. It sets out a direction for the NHS in England over the next 10 years. A cornerstone of the plan is to give people greater control over their own health, and this includes plans to roll out social prescribing.
Social prescribing gives GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals the chance to refer patients to non-clinical support such as community and voluntary-based activities. It usually works through a link worker who supports patients to get involved with local activities and resources ranging from swimming lessons to community cafes and stop smoking services.
The plan is to have more than 1000 trained social prescribing link workers in place by the end of 2020/21. Link workers will continue to be trained so that by 2023/4 over 900,000 patients could have access to social prescribing schemes.
Overall it is hoped that over 2.5 million more people will have access to social prescribing, a personal health budget and new ways to manage their health in partnership with patient and voluntary groups.
This could be good news for CNHC registrants if practitioner services are recognised as part of the wider public health workforce meeting a local need. CNHC continues to make the case for this recognition.
Local NHS organisations are currently working with their local councils to develop and implement their own plans for the next five years. If you would like to have input to how these plans are being developed in your own area, you can find and contact your local Healthwatch here.
To find out more about the NHS Long Term Plan, click here.