Social Prescribing – ‘Spotlight On…’ Birmingham & Sandwell
Birmingham & Sandwell – Social Prescribing During Covid-19
Dawn Hutton (Link Worker Champion for Birmingham & Sandwell), is a link worker with Health Exchange in Birmingham & Sandwell. Here she tells us a bit about her role and what advice she would give to those who are new in role…
Link Worker Champion (Birmingham & Sandwell)
What is the biggest challenge you are facing at the moment?
The biggest challenge faced now for me is not being able to see patients. As a Link Worker, face to face contact is more effective for some of the issues that patients have. Dealing with certain problems over the phone can be quite challenging.
What are you most proud of in your career as a Link Worker?
I am proud of the fact that I can make a difference. It is very satisfying to see the impact made and the relationship built with each patient and their family.
What would your ‘top tip’ to a new colleague be?
My top tip to a new colleague would be to remember you are not alone!
Always keep in touch with colleagues and peers, and maintain your own mental health – some patients will offload problems which are overwhelming.
Do you have an example from a service user of how social prescribing is making a difference to people’s lives?
I recently supported a patient who had their PIP Application denied and was told they were not eligible for this benefit. This patient has many long-term conditions, which prevents them from doing normal everyday things; going out to work, getting dressed, personal care. However, DWP had advised the patient that they are fit for work, causing a lot of anxiety for them. After listening to the patient, I had a word with their GP and together we decided to support them. We provided separate support statements on the patient’s health conditions and the impact that the decision had had on their mental health.
The patient was about to lose his Motability car which they depended on for GP/hospital Appointments. The patient then put in an appeal – after a gruelling 3 months we won the appeal. The patient is so pleased for the support – they said that Social Prescribing and the role of the Link Worker is amazing, and that this service is a benefit to any patients who have similar issues.