Social Prescribing Innovation in GM
We love the diversity of social prescribing across Greater Manchester. We are all using different models and approaches but all working to create happier, healthier lives.
Victoria Tolliday, Clinical Director RDP Clinical Network and Director of Innovation and Business Development at Robert Darbishire Practice Limited, shares a great example of how social prescribing can be led by GPs. This shows the great potential of Primary Care Networks when they are born out of a person and community centred ethos.
Victoria: Our story
The Robert Darbishire Practice Ltd is a social enterprise running primary care services in Central Manchester. Our biggest practice site at the heart of the curry mile in Rusholme is the biggest practice in the North West and in the top 1% of largest practices in the country. We are also a primary care network made up of our own 3 practices caring for over 37,000 patients.
Our model is innovative- we are run by a multi-disciplinary board of directors comprising: a managing director, two nurses and two GPs. We are a not-for-profit social enterprise. General practice is traditionally a GP partnership model and we were one of the first practices in the country to run in this way. Our model enables us to engage with our communities and to reinvest all profit in our staff and the services we provide for patients rather than as profits for partners.
We aim to find new ways to work inclusively and help more patients to improve their health and well-being. Our patients are some of the most diverse, disadvantaged and vulnerable in their communities. Our patients speak 87 different languages collectively. They have higher morbidity, complex co-morbidities, multiple health problems, high levels of psychological trauma, drug and alcohol issues and other health damaging behaviours.
As a network we recognise that we need to support our patients in different ways. We want to improve health outcomes and experiences for our patients. We want to invest in our local community and build healthy practice communities.
We recognise the powerful impact that social prescribing can have on wellbeing. We have, therefore, developed a wellbeing team consisting of a social prescriber, mental health practitioner, health improvement lead and health promotion staff. This team works in partnership to supplement the support a patient gets from their GP, and to improve health outcomes while decreasing dependency on traditional health services.
Our social prescriber joined us a few weeks before the Covid-19 crisis and has been invaluable. She has supported a huge number of patients, coordinating with local partners on physical activity, healthy eating/cooking, social activity, welfare information and positive relationship advice, connecting the person to community and voluntary groups and resources in their area. The team has arranged food deliveries, bought isolated patients mobile phones, sent out artwork and poems written by our team’s children, arranged transport and been an invaluable support for those who are isolated. We are particularly proud of the video support chats and meditation that we have been able to provide for those who have been shielding.
We are partnering with local organisations such as our local gallery and we are hugely excited about working in partnership with the team at Platt Hall for the benefit of our patients and our communities. We hope that our partnership work will add to the evolving evidence on arts, health and wellbeing.
We have already been privileged to hear moving personal accounts from patients who have experienced improvements in their own health and wellbeing from engagement with our wellbeing team. We want to play a part in connecting patients with their own communities and to continue to support them to create their own health.