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Social Prescribing Spotlight On: The Black Country

The Black Country – Social Prescribing During Covid-19

 

Aiesha Turner (Link Worker Champion for The Black Country), tells us what being a social prescribing link worker means to her, how her social prescribing scheme is making a difference, and some advice to those who are new in role…

 

Aiesha Turner
Link Worker Champion (The Black Country)

 

What are you most proud of in your career as a Link Worker?

What I am most proud of in my career as a Link Worker is generally being able to use social prescribing interventions to change people’s lives. Social prescribing allows individuals to tell their stories, and they often report feeling heard for the first time in their lives. We use solution focused and motivational interviewing techniques and these can really have a positive impact on the individuals we support. We also focus on allowing time for people to tell their stories and we offer a non-judgmental space for them to explore different aspects of their lives and consider what they (and we) can do to move them forward. This level of social prescribing can be extremely powerful to those individuals facing barriers and challenges, and working with people to explore these can yield amazing results!

What would your ‘top tip’ to a new colleague be?

Get to know the local landscape and what is on offer and make connections with others (local authority and statutory services, charities, community groups, PCNs, other link workers etc). These can prove very valuable when connecting patients to services. Also, be confident in the model (it works!) and your skills!

How is your scheme making a difference to your local health and care system?

We have been able to support patients with non-medical issues they are facing, which has led to a reduction in GP and hospital attendances. We have also encouraged other health and care professionals to consider a more holistic approach when supporting patients and we also raise awareness amongst our PCNs of what is available within the community for patients to access. Also, connecting patients to the most appropriate services for them leads to quality referrals that can have the most impact for the patient and the most effective use of time and resources for services.

Do you have an example from a service user – a quote or example of how social prescribing is making a difference to people’s lives?

“I was almost at rock bottom, and now I’m up here! Integrated Plus has helped me to develop confidence in myself and has helped me to not feel so isolated.”

“I feel really at ease with getting in touch with Integrated Plus for support. They have made me feel more positive and motivated and I am very thankful for the time they have spent with me.”