This is a guest blog by our Social Prescriber Lisa Hepworth
A general definition of Social Prescribing could be “Connecting people with local community services and activities to improve their health and wellbeing”
So do people know that they need to be connected? The answer to that is probably no.
And do they have any idea what they can be connected to? The answer to that is probably no as well.
So I have created a need for my role there already. I can help people find out what activities and services there are out there, and tell people about the benefits of accessing some of those services.
How do I do this? Wel,l a doctor has a limited time slot to ask questions, examine and make a diagnosis then prescribe a course of treatment. I have a more flexible time slot where I am able to find out a bit more about the social aspects of life. The great thing about Tetbury and Romney House Surgery is that there is a great sense of community. There are services provided in the town for Tetbury and surrounding villages residents. Although the wider community try to publicise these services and activities at the time they are advertised, they may not be relevant; it is read and registered but not needed at that time so filed away in the back of memory.
Here is an example: some people in Tetbury know that there is a day centre, some will know there is a day centre and it is in St Marys road, others will know it is run by Penny and so on. So I could get to see a son or daughter who are looking for some activities for their elderly father to do as he is lonely since his wife died three years ago. I would find out about the day centre further for them, the days it runs, the costs involved, the transport associated with getting there, etc.
So this service is very individual. I try and be the person connecting others, be that to start a new walking group as several people express a desire to walk, they join together and a local friendship group is formed. I then know about this group and can recommend others to join it grows and the community benefits.
I signpost to other services that could be specific to Tetbury or further afield. I have explored so many different services to try and find whatever will improve the wellbeing of the patients I see.
I really enjoy my job. It is always varied and a challenge but it is a service there for your community. Ask your doctor if the social prescribing service could benefit you.