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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?”

We’d love to work with you, hear your experiences of looking after a loved one and use your expertise to shape a new innovation tool for carers.

Latest figures estimate that 6.5 million people are unpaid carers in the UK and it is estimated that carers save the economy £132 billion per year. There is a growing recognition of the importance of understanding the needs of carers and how they access education and skills to build support. We are developing an education and support package for those caring for loved ones in their own home, working with family carers to create a simple, decision-support tool that will enable them to identify signs of deterioration early and make decisions about what to do to help. We are working with Geraldine Rodgers, Associate Director of Nursing and together we plan to adapt Significant 7, a tool developed within NELFT to help staff in care homes identify signs of deterioration earlier and to help them know what action to take, to make it relevant and useful to family carers.

There is an opportunity to join a task and finish group to meet our project team on a monthly basis until February 2019. If you are interested in sharing your expertise and experiences as a carer to inform the development of this tool or to find out more please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Care City on 0300 555 1200.

Our team are doing great things at Care City, and increasingly beyond Care City too.

Simran Janjua, one of our Project Leads has been successful in her bid to head up delivery of the 10-week yoga4health programme in her spare time across Barking and Dagenham. This programme is intended for people at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes or those who are experiencing mild depression, anxiety or social isolation. It is designed and developed by experts in the yoga community and it’s been tested with clinicians and patients in West London. The programme focuses on developing physical strength and flexibility, promotes relaxation through focused breathing and enables residents to connect with one another through facilitated group discussions. For more information or to register your interest in joining the yoga4health programme please see your GP or contact Simran at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07498 968536.

In her time at Care City Simran has led the delivery of a range of national and local projects such as the falls prevention work within the Wave 1 NHSE Innovation Test Bed Programme, a review of the dementia services in Barking and Dagenham and more recently is leading the development of a decision-support tool to help family carers spot signs of deterioration in the health of those they look after. By training, Simran is a pharmacist and having worked in mental health she recognises the value in both early intervention and taking a whole-person approach to health and wellbeing. She is wholly committed to finding innovative ways such as the yoga4health programme, to engage with and empower her local community.

Mary France (Mez) Jardiel joined Care City through the Skills for Care Graduate Management Programme and has been leading the roll out of HealthUnlocked's Social Prescribing Tool across the Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham. HealthUnlocked improves knowledge of and access to local groups offering support across a range of health determinants including social, emotional and skills development. In line with Care City’s vision, the HealthUnlocked roll out can improve people’s health and wellbeing, reduce pressure on GP’s and also build capacity within the local community. Given her long held desire to become a GP and her interest in gaining front line primary care experience, Mez is taking the HealthUnlocked roll out one step further by hosting social prescribing drop-in sessions at Thames View Health Centre. Mez will be working in collaboration with practice staff and patients to find the most effective social prescription to meet their needs. If interested, please speak to Reception on (020) 8507 3056 at the Thame View Health Centre to book your session.

A founding value of Care City is improving the health outcomes of the population it serves. Whether it be working with innovators to improve health and social care services as part of the NHSE Innovation Test Bed or co-designing services as a part of the Healthy New Town Programme. Care City’s team is passionate about having an active role in the community it serves.

To learn more about the work of Care City and its team members, visit carecity.london.uk