Member Spotlight – Peter Day
Meet Peter, Senior Social Prescriber at Taurus Healthcare.
Please summarise your role responsibilities
Provide social prescriber support for the doctors in four of the surgeries in the east part of Herefordshire, a rural and sparsely populated county-often confused with Hertfordshire. We have an aging and dispersed population who need support in all the areas that are associated with getting older alone.
What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?
I have established a good relationship with the various doctors I work with and we have effective two-way discussions about patients. My most significant achievement is being able to feed back to the doctors what we have achieved together to improve the life of the patients. Just as important, the chance to give them a safe space to share some of their own frustrations about the pressured and isolated way they are currently working. Doctors are not really trained to deliver remote services; it goes against their instincts and brings a fear of missing something that they would see if the patient were before them. The reassurance that they are getting it right and are appreciated by their patients is a great help in getting through this difficult time.
What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?
The unmet and unquantified mental health issues that will come to the fore once people are able to see what the new normal looks like for them. There will be the patients who have felt reassured by the shared experiences of general foreboding in the community-people have “got” what they feel like all the time, possibly for the first time. This will change once the world opens up for a lot of people, but many will feel left behind. There will also be the whole host of Long Covid patients, who will have suddenly dropped into the mental health arena, and will be unwilling to accept the piecemeal approach to mental health that has plagued the system for so long. This will bring pressures of a different type.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Social Prescribing Link Workers and/or Social Prescribing Programmes?
The upside of getting committed and dedicated staff to do this job is that you all bring a desire to do a good job. The downside is that this is still a fairly new role and there are a (few?) bumps in the road. Please recognise that this is both “work in progress” and that the cradle to grave approach that underpins Primary Care isn’t about a quick fix. It’s about supporting people to be as well as they can be for as long as they can be, and social prescribing is part of that. Look for durable partnerships with other professionals and remember that everyone else is struggling with the I.T. systems as well and that hitting the keyboard is only a short term solution!
What do you do for fun when not working?
We have a B&B which is currently pretty quiet, but I’m hopeful that this years “Staycation” boom is just around the corner!
How does National Association of Link Workers add value to Social Prescribing and Link Workers?
Sharing stories, both good and bad, makes us all feel part of a bigger team and gives us a chance to see what progress we are making. The National Association is our way of making our voices heard and promoting all that is good about social prescribing.
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