4th International Social Prescribing Network Conference: Priorities for Link Worker Development

4th International Social Prescribing Network Conference: Priorities for Link Worker Development

Christiana Melam, Chief Executive of the National Association of Link Workers (NALW), spoke at the 4th International Social Prescribing Network Conference 11th March 2022 hosted by the Social Prescribing Network as part of social prescribing week activities. She started her speech by quoting #LinkWorkerDay19 keynote speaker Lord Victor Adebowale Chair of NHS Confederation, who in his keynote address said our future relies on the success of social prescribing link workers.

Social Prescribing without Link Worker is signposting, she said. Link Workers have a complex job of facilitating integration, preventing ill health, reducing health inequalities, and social justice; this role reverses the inverse care law and needs to get the legitimacy and recognition it deserves.

She highlighted 8 priorities for Link Worker development, highlighting NALW research and intelligence concerning each priority. She noted that NALW members adhered to our code of practice & ethics and committed to maintaining their CPD.

She called for ALL who wish to reduce inequalities and social injustice to take action to ensure Social Prescribing Link Workers succeed in their mission. Warning that there was a risk to recruitment, retention, sustainability, quality, and safety if the priorities were not addressed.

Change only happens by taking action, just as she took action by founding NALW to solve a problem, the same way the founders of the social prescribing network did to solve a problem- nobody gives anyone money to take action. What is your contribution to ensuring social prescribing link workers succeed?

This poem summarised her speech by a poet who took action following her talk.

You can catch up on the event by searching #socialprescribing2022 on Twitter.

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There is an ever-increasing evidence base for the success of social prescribing and its impact on reducing social inequality. More and more NHS and statutory bodies are embracing social prescribing and committing resources to it, that is why Christiana believes that those who are passionate about social change should join the social prescribing movement.
Not only will they be able to champion social causes, but they will be able to channel their energy and talent into achieving better health outcomes for others.

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