This month we are summarising how we are getting on achieving our aims for 2024 in raising the awareness of social prescribing across primary care and beyond and proving evidence for it to show why it is important.
Throughout January we made a great start in achieving that aim. Through raising awareness of how social prescribing can work across different primary care settings across the country, we were able to demonstrate how digital social prescribing can develop stronger multi-disciplinary teams to achieve better outcomes.
Through our work raising awareness, we were also able to demonstrate the benefits of social prescribing across primary care for Primary Care Managers, Digital and Transformation Leads, Social Prescribing Link Workers, and the end-users themselves.
One of the biggest benefits is the time our social prescribing software has been able to save and the reduction in the number of GP appointments required. To highlight this further, we showed our ROI calculator in our latest thought leadership guide. Here we demonstrated how much money could be saved across the primary care settings you work in by 20%, 30%, and 40% with potential cost savings of over £100,000 a year.
Last month we also went a step further by explaining in more detail the benefits our social prescribing software has given Age UK Barnet to reduce the number of clinical interventions needed. Since using our social prescribing solution their GP attendance rates have reduced by a staggering 65% and 78% of patients who used the service felt their anxiety reduced.
To rewatch our highly interactive webinar discussing all things social prescribing across primary care and the process of combining primary care services and voluntary sectors together watch our webinar today.
Why is social prescribing across primary care important?
To raise awareness about social prescribing across primary care it is vital that we can explain to people why it is important, the challenges it is overcoming, and what we are doing at Access Elemental to make overcoming these challenges easier.
Social prescribing across primary care is important therefore as it helps to reduce pressure on clinicians and GPs. Currently, 20% of GP appointments are for non-clinical or social reasons where the wider social determinants of health are negatively impacting wellbeing.
This increased pressure on GPs to better manage the demand leads to longer waiting lists. When implementing social prescribing within primary care, it is important to ensure every stakeholder is engaged from reception staff to the end-user themselves, as everyone across the primary care setting can then make the referral and avoid patients seeing the GP including self-referrals.
For this to happen the biggest concerns we hear are that clinicians are nervous that embedding new models and software will add to their workloads.
At Access Elemental we have ensured we do the opposite. One of the ways we do this is through our two-way integrations with all leading clinical systems. Here clinicians and Social Prescribing Link Workers can better manage their referrals as well as have access to all the information they need to either create the social prescription or track the progress of a patient’s social prescribing journey.
We understand that every journey is different and lots of different terminology is used so we have also added more SNOMED codes to make it easier to share information as well as allow free text to be sent back and forth through our Access Elemental platform and the clinical system. Referrals can be made directly in a matter of three clicks and clinicians can track the journey at any point with Elemental being integrated into their system.
What would Access Elemental Social Prescribing love to achieve?
Once we’ve continued to share both the evidence for social prescribing across primary care and the importance of it, we would love to share that message with other sectors and demonstrate how easy it is to adopt a social prescribing model to best support your sector. Whether that’s in housing, through voluntary organisations, or in higher education.
In fact, February is the second-highest month for university dropouts in the UK. In the year 2019/2020 5.3% of students across the UK dropped out of university. It was calculated that in the second semester alone last year, 2.1% of students dropped out of university.
Whilst there are many student retention strategies out there which universities are using not all are practical, and they would work better if they had a stronger co-production approach. Adopting a social prescribing model helps to reduce dropout rates and improve student mental health and wellbeing by acknowledging there can be a wide range of factors why a student may be struggling whether its social reasons, personal ones, or academic ones.
Embedding social prescribing within university life helps support staff discover their reasons for struggling and be able to refer students to interventions and services both within the university and the wider community to best help them.
Investing in digital social prescribing makes this process even easier as our pre-approved Directory of Services makes it easier for support workers to see all in one place the options that are available to best meet the student’s needs without worries that the information is outdated. This, in turn, allows students to be more proactive in managing their health and wellbeing, be more successful in their university program, as well as prevent them from dropping out of university altogether.
For more information on how we have helped other universities adopt social prescribing models for their institution to improve student retention, download our social prescribing in universities guide today.
At Access HSC Our portfolio of integrated solutions empowers professionals in healthcare, support, and social care services to deliver joined-up quality and preventative care. With over 30 years of experience, we support local authorities alongside small, medium, and large organisations, to focus on the individual with the freedom to make it personal.