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Combat loneliness with 'social prescribing', says Theresa May

Earlier this week the Prime Minister launched the Government’s first loneliness strategy, highlighting the importance of social prescribing, through recognising the need for personalised approaches and local solutions to tackle complex and subjective circumstances, such as loneliness.

Here at Care City, we believe that we can apply this approach to other social needs such as anxiety, social isolation, getting active and losing weight, among many others. Our collaboration with HealthUnlocked as part of Wave 1 of NHSE’s Test Bed Programme has enabled its EMIS plug-in for social prescribing to be rolled out across Barking & Dagenham enabling GP’s to quickly and easily deliver a digital social prescription to their patients as part of their standard consultation. Since it is easily accessible on EMIS, other healthcare professionals and GP staff, such as nurses, receptionists and healthcare assistants, are also able to incorporate social prescribing into their daily routine.

The tool that directs and signposts patients to local services, charities and voluntary sector support, and relevant HealthUnlocked online support communities has proved popular with both GPs and patients. As a result the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and Barking & Dagenham CCG have agreed to work with us to grow its use and transform health and care services in the area for the better.

We’re also delighted that we’ve been able to increase the selection of 'needs' and 'conditions' currently available within the tool, in response to the needs of the local communities. Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure and High Blood Cholesterol have now been added under the ‘condition’ category, enabling healthcare professionals and GP staff to signpost their patients to online resources around these heart health terms.

Read our Chief Exec, John Craig’s blog “Can social prescribing really transform the NHS?”