The North East and North Cumbria is one of the first areas in the country to give link workers access to a new accredited level three qualification in social prescribing.
The programme is part of a £500,000 investment for workforce related projects across the ICS funded by our partners Health Education England (HEE).
This interactive course brings together the latest research and knowledge from leaders at the forefront of social prescribing. It will support link workers by providing them with practical skills to deliver social prescribing and there’s a highly-desirable qualification at the end of it too.
The NHS Long Term Plan has committed to embedding social prescribing in local communities as a way of improving health and wellbeing. Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be run by the council or a local charity. For example, signposting people who have been diagnosed with dementia to local dementia support groups.
Jane Hartley, health and wellbeing associate at VONNE and north east regional social prescribing facilitator, said: “This is great news and recognises the important role link workers will play in helping our communities live happier and healthier lives. We know that many things can impact on our health –where we live, finances and access to services – and that the solutions to improving health require many organisations working together. Social prescribing is an essential part of making this happen on the ground.”
Moira Underwood from Edberts House in Gateshead was a link worker for three years and is now operational lead for the project. She took part in the pilot training programme and so far is the only link worker in the north east to achieve the qualification. She said: “Social prescribing is one of the most exciting things to happen within the NHS for many years. It brings together health, voluntary and community and statutory organisations to work in true partnership to allow individuals to address what is important to them and to access services in a seamless way. I was a participant in the ‘pilot training’ and it consolidated the work I had been doing and validated my prior learning and experience.”
- Jackie Jamieson and Sarah Gorman are the North East’s regional social prescribing learning co-ordinators and will be running a learning event for link workers on 4 March and are setting up peer support networks for link workers across ICS.