Member Spotlight – Dani Lally, Senior Wellbeing Link Worker

Member Spotlight – Dani Lally

Meet Dani, Senior Wellbeing Link Worker & Nonclinical Inequalities Lead at North Liverpool Primary Care Network.

Please summarise your role responsibilities

I am responsible for leading a team of 6 Wellbeing Link Workers across North Liverpool PCN. We have a patient population of 95,000+ and cover 17 GP practices. W are the 3rd most deprived PCN in the country and the 2nd largest PCN in Liverpool.

I am responsible for training and developing the team so that they are well equipped to deal with the challenging demographics, whilst being able to maintain and promote personalised care and a patient led service. I am also responsible for ensuring that the team are happy within their role and advocate the importance of team work and supervision with myself.

I am also responsible for leading on the nonclinical health inequalities plan, this involves working alongside network clinicians to promote the benefits of Social Prescribing and raising awareness of how social problems impact physiological and psychological health. I promote integrated working between the Link Worker Team and Clinical Staff, establishing and creating pathways for the handover of patients between the teams. I have also created a partnership between the Link Worker Team and colleagues in secondary care mental health teams, whereby Mental Health Practitioners will manage any patient risk but refer to the Link Worker Team for holistic nonmedical support. This is a shared approach to working and has proved very successful resulting in a Band 6 Mental Health Practitioner being deployed to work alongside my Link Worker Team. I believe that social prescribing should be an inclusive service and that patients regardless of a diagnosis should be supported under social prescribing. This is why I have ensured these partnerships are created. I also allow my team to undertake ‘community outreach’ work, working in partnership with local community organisations to promote social prescribing support and reach people who may not visit their GP regularly. I believe that identifying the root cause of a problem is important for helping a person take control over their health and wellbeing and this is why I have began a career in Social Prescribing. I have previously worked as a Health and Wellbeing Coach and also a Lifestyle Advisor but always felt there was more that could be done for people to help meet their needs and Social Prescribing is that missing piece. I believe that Social Prescribing is a fundamental element of health promotion and I am keen that its power and influence is correctly understood by organisations and wider clinical teams. I believe that there should be professional standards in training and professional skills that Link Workers should meet to ensure that all people receive the correct level of support. I am keen to continue promoting the benefits of Social Prescribing and deliver visiting lectures to University of Chester, Undergraduate Nursing Students to promote how social prescribing can benefit them in their roles of nursing. I have also previously delivered a regional conference in the capacity of NALW North West Regional Champion to promote the NALW report to help Link Workers look after themselves and also how to continue professional development within the role. Feedback from this event was that delegates felt empowered as they understood the potential the role of a SPLW has upon others lives and also they felt confident to promote the importance of the role within their organisations. For my future aspirations I would love to continue developing within the Social Prescribing realm and to successfully complete my postgraduate Doctorate of Public Health so I can undertake research of local communities and identify barriers relating to healthcare which could be minimised through Social Prescribing.

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

My most significant accomplishment is that I am able to lead and develop a team. Seeing my team grow in confidence gives me job satisfaction. When I hear my team members tell me that patients have said ‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you’

resonates with me of how important my role is to develop staff to reach their full potential. It is an honour to be able to lead a team and it is my responsibility to ensure they are happy within their role. I do this by following NALW code of practice and employers handbook.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

Housing is currently a national problem that all SPLWs are facing. However, I try to overcome this by ensuring my team provide supporting letters to patients and also help their patients access as many support services as possible. Whether that be emotional support or support for the children. I listen to my team when they are working in difficult circumstances so that they can offload and not feel over burdened.

Do you have any words of wisdom for Social Prescribing Link Workers and/or Social Prescribing Programmes?

The reception team within your practices are the backbone for you in you role. If you can get along with the reception teams this will help you so much in your role as they are knowledgeable and know the patients more than anybody. They will also give you lots of referrals

It is so important that you promote Social Prescribing as an extension of clinical care, it isn’t something that should be separated we must all work together for the best interests of the patients and their families.

What do you do for fun when not working?

I like to spend time with my little boy, being a mum is my favourite thing to do. We enjoy days out and like to visit other cities. I enjoy laughter and look for fun and things that make me laugh. I believe a sense of humour is so important in life and I never take myself too seriously.

How has NALW supported you in your role?

NALW has given me confidence in speaking up and advocating for what is right. It has enabled me promote social prescribing to a wider audience and has helped me realise that I am part of a massive community outside of my employer. I have external colleagues who although work across the country we are all the same people advocating for the same things.

NALW has provided me with training and development opportunities that I would not have been aware of if not a member and I recommend a membership to everybody who is working as a Link Worker.

How has NALW supported your career development?

NALW has supported my career development by giving me confidence to apply for my current role and to be a leader and advocate for those less vulnerable.

How does National Association of Link Workers add value to Social Prescribing and Link Workers?

It helps resilience as it offers additional and wider support for Link Workers, it helps Link Workers feel part of a wider and much larger community. There are training and development opportunities which help within the role and it also helps minimise burnout and over working as there is additional support available. It also helps Link Workers be heard such as the Link Worker report, this let people have their say

 

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