Member Spotlight- Jane Soothill

Name: Jane Soothill

Job title: Social Prescribing Link Worker

Organisation:Voluntary Action South West Surrey

Location: England, Guildford

Please summarise your role responsibilities

I provide a social prescribing service for a PCN with a population of approximately 60,000. It is a mixed rural and urban area with pockets of relative deprivation. Ageing, frailty and mental health are the main issues for my clients. I take referrals from HCPs, adult social care and borough councils and I sit within a social prescribing team that’s hosted by the VCSE sector. I meet clients at home or in the community where we have a conversation about what matters to them. My role is to link them to groups, services and activities that will improve their social, emotional and financial wellbeing.

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

I co-wrote a successful bid for support from NHS England’s ‘Building Health Partnerships’, which is supporting our local PCNs and VCSE sector to work more effectively together through a model of social prescribing. It has given link workers, GPs and VCSE sector representatives an opportunity to co-produce events and ideas to aid collaborative working. Local link workers have received coaching from The King’s Fund to support them in their role and give them the skills they need to work collaboratively across sectors.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

The biggest issue for us at the moment is balancing the growth of our social prescribing service with the needs of individual clients. Social prescribing is most effective when people are given the time and support they need to achieve their goals. Social prescribing shouldn’t become a numbers game.

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

Social prescribing is a collaborative venture. Link workers need to be thoroughly linked in to the health, statutory and VCSE sectors themselves if they’re to provide effective links for their clients. The breadth of the role gives link workers the freedom to be innovative and think creatively.

What do you do for fun when not working?

I am a keen amateur musician. I play the flute and I love to sing. Walking in the countryside is always a joy but I’m mostly kept busy with my family and my pets.

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

Every social prescribing service is different and evolves to meet the needs of local populations. However, with an expanding workforce and increasing pressure on link workers to be all things to all people, it’s so important to have organisation that represents the interests of link workers and supports them to be the best that they can. By providing support, training and resources to link workers, NALW can help social prescribing to reach its full potential.

Member Spotlight- Sapphire McCalla

Name: Sapphire McCalla

Job title: Social Prescriber

Organisation: Handsworth Wood & Great Barr PCN

Location: England, Birmingham

Please summarise your role responsibilities

To support patients, carrying out person centred assessments, helping patients set goals, researching appropriate services and groups to meet the patient’s need, making facilitated onward referrals and following up.

Participating in regular meetings, presenting updates at staff, volunteer, MDT and clinical meetings, participating in case reviews

Supporting link work volunteers, organising and carrying out interviews with potential candidates

Maintaining appropriate patient records in line with the PCN’s policies, including keeping up to date accurate records of social prescribing activities using a database; developing and maintaining effective systems and processes; producing written information for GP surgeries and other partners and supporting service evaluation

Working with Operational Lead to develop and maintain good working relationships with partner organisations and health professionals whilst also promoting the service to ensure it is visible and well understood amongst all stakeholders

To undertake other tasks as required that contribute to the smooth operation of the Social Prescribing Service i.e. facilitating coffee mornings, carer’s groups, group consultations, MDT meetings and meeting CQC GP Qof targets for end of life patient’s families/carers

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

Collaborations with local services such as weight loss, network neighbour-hood schemes and coffee mornings

Being asked to share my tips/ideas with another local PCN Social Prescriber

Awarded the physical activity bid by Birmingham City Council and facilitation the focus groups.

Helping to hit the end of life Qof target by capturing the support received by families/carers for patients on end of life care

Role of Social Prescribing Regional Champion of the Midlands

Helping a mother find accommodation, helping a lady lose weight, helping a COPD patient contact the council for house repairs, helping a gentleman get his universal credit back and connecting a lady with social anxiety to a coffee morning.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

Getting laptops/phones to work remotely and safely

Getting a consultation template embedded in Emis Web

Not receiving regular supervision

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

Make sure your managers have introduced you to all services/ GP practices and given you your log ins before starting the role.

Make sure protected time has been put aside for supervision

Have a spreadsheet to keep track of patients

Always put time aside in the working week to catch up on admin

Make it clear to all parties what you do, what referrals you can accept and how they can refer (social prescribing criteria)

What do you do for fun when not working?

I am a member of the Birmingham Community Gospel Choir. We have appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, Welsh Choir Documentary, Songs of Praise, Sports Personality of The Year, Degineers and will be appearing on Krufts.

I am also a member of Slimming World which has helped me to lose 3 stone. I enjoy going to group every week and have made lots of friends who offer moral support.

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

It helps raise the profile/awareness of social prescribing in my area. It will increase my knowledge of social prescribing and keep up to date with all plans for the service nationally. It has given me access to the social prescribing qualification. It has given me the opportunity to receive supervision. Finally, it will improve my leadership and public speaking skills when promoting the service to a large audience/at workshops.

Sapphire is National Association of Link Workers point of contact in Midlands providing localised leadership and support to Link Workers.

Connect with her on twitter!

Get involved with 20th April #LinkWorkerDay2020

Member Spotlight- Bronagh Cooper

Name: Bronagh Cooper

Job title: SPRING Social Prescribing Coordinator

Organisation: Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum

Location: Northern Ireland

Please summarise your role responsibilities

As the Social Prescribing Co-ordinator I carry a caseload of clients and develop and implement effective signposting and assisting individuals to services that will address the individual’s non-medical needs. Together, the individual and I complete an initial assessment that includes assessing risk with the client, co-create and agree action plans with individual’s and provide (or work to enable) the necessary support as identified in the plan. During engagement with the individual, reviews are carried out to ensure useful and sustainable benefits have been achieved.

I continuously work closely with Western Healthy Living Centres and have formed strategic linkages with and provide regular communication to participating GP practices including GP’s, multi-disciplinary teams and other medical professionals.

In addition, I provide strategic and operational development of the SPRING Social Prescribing Programme, and the day-to-day management of all relating services including those developed in partnership with Healthy Living Centre (HLC) partners, GP’s and statutory and voluntary agencies in the WHSCT area.

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

I have experienced many accomplishments fulfilling my role as a social prescriber, primarily witnessing positive outcomes achieved by individuals referred to SPRING Social Prescribing.

Through my role, I have also been able to identify gaps of support need and have therefore developed and implemented programmes to help such support needs. All of which, are now well established and delivered throughout the year.

I have also helped raise the profile of Social Prescribing in the north of Ireland, to which I am extremely proud.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

The biggest challenge is the increasing demand on Social Prescribing without any financial support from government bodies.

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

Incorporate self-care into your working week, this is vital during your practice.

Always use a person centred approach when engaging individuals.

Social Prescribers are not in a position to force individuals into services/support, we act as their guide and their cheerleaders to improving their health and well-being.

Be creative when creating and developing programmes needed to support individuals.

What do you do for fun when not working?

I like to meditate and read, which helps me relax.

For fun, I like to socialise with my friends, go dancing and laugh as much as I can!

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

NALW adds value to link workers as it is a valuable means of support, sharing ideas and motivation, when needed. The Association also raises the profile of Social Prescribing and will help gain recognition for the invaluable work that we carry out on a daily basis.

Bronagh is National Association of Link Workers point of contact in Northern Ireland providing localised leadership and support to Link Workers.

Connect with her on twitter!

Get involved with 20th April #LinkWorkerDay2020

Member Spotlight- Laura Evans

Name: Laura Evans

Job title: Senior Wellbeing4u Co-ordinator

Organisation: Wellbeing4U – United Welsh

Location: Wales

Please summarise your role responsibilities

I jointly line manage the Wellbeing4u team, responsible for facilitating reflective practice, team meetings, collating reports, case management, 121 supervisions and promoting the wellbeing of the co-ordinators.  I attend practice and cluster meetings to promote social prescribing and facilitate courses with patients.  I am responsible for the training of the team.

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

I am most proud of developing reflective practice and training of the team and encouraging staff to be self compassionate and taking care of their own wellbeing.  This has had a significant impact in staff recovering and preventing burnout and also impacts the conversations that the co-ordinators have with patients.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

My biggest challenge currently is encouraging GPs to not only refer to us for social prescribing but also to value the impact that health and wellbeing coaching can have in increasing patient’s wellbeing and for us to be viewed as a partner in health.

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

Being self compassionate and managing your own wellbeing is key to being successful in the role.  The role can be isolating and complex and it can take time to gain “buy in” from GPs and practice staff.  Don’t be disheartened if resistance is experienced, keep at it, and share case studies in practice meetings which can outline to GPs how social prescribing can impact patients.

What do you do for fun when not working?

I spend time with my family and friends, walking my two dogs and playing with my 20 month old grandson who is the light of my life! I love holistic therapies, spa days and yoga and teach mindfulness courses in the community.

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

National Association of Link Workers adds value to Social Prescribing by providing employers with a code of practice, guidance around employing link workers and a framework with which to align themselves by when considering good practice.  NALW provides link workers with training and a supportive community of link workers who can be drawn upon for peer support which is vital to success in the role.

Laura is National Association of Link Workers point of contact in Wales providing localised leadership and support to Link Workers.

Connect with her on twitter!

Get involved with 20th April #LinkWorkerDay2020

Member Spotlight- Valerie Campbell

Name: Valerie Campbell

Job title: Lead Community Link Worker

Organisation: CVS Inverclyde

Location: Scotland

Please summarise your role responsibilities

I am the manager of a link working team based in all GP practices in our area.  My role is to support and provide line management to the team as well as having a case load myself.

I am responsible for making sure the team are supported by providing full line management support, make sure that the programme stakeholders are kept up to date with our progress including data and stats and promote the service locally and nationally.

I support people who are registered at the GP practice with social, non-medical issues and make them aware of services locally, support them to make informed decisions about what services to choose and then support to link them with the services.  A big part of our role is community mapping of services so that we are fully aware of what is available locally and nationally to support people.

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

When I receive tear jerking quotes from people the team have supported, that is the best accomplishment I could every think of!

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

Time.  Time to get together as a team can be difficult as everyone is so busy.

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

Build good relationships; – with GPs, local orgs, other partners and the link working team.  We cannot do this alone.

Look out for each other, this link working role can be isolating at times.

What do you do for fun when not working?

I love crafting – knitting a crochet mainly but will try my hand at anything, currently have around 6 projects on the go!

I also enjoy volunteering locally at 2 community centres.

I have an amazing daughter who keeps me entertained!

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

NALW gives a focus and strategic clout to the role.  All link working team/areas do things differently which is great but to have an organisation that is constant and consistent.  The code of practice helps us as link workers and employers make sure we are achieving best practice in our roles.

Valerie is National Association of Link Workers point of contact in Scotland providing localised leadership and support to Link Workers.

Connect with her on twitter!

Get involved with 20th April #LinkWorkerDay2020

PCN Social Prescribing Link Worker reflection: NALW’s work makes you feel inspired and not alone in your efforts

The Social Prescribing Link Worker Community of Practice conference on 10th October in London was just what the doctor ordered.
As a NHS Social Prescriber Linkworker myself, recently in post (3 months), the conference was a useful day that included people from all over the UK. There were speakers with presentations, group exercises and peer support.

For me what stood out was focusing on the need of new staff in these roles, which is vital, in order for us all to feel supported, which is the only way Social Prescribing as a service will survive and thrive.

Individual staff had the chance to share ideas and experiences with one another, including what caseloads look like, measuring tools, diversity, community assets and so forth.

It was beneficial to be in a space with other Link Workers, as currently there is little of this type of peer support and it is necessary in what can be an isolating role.

Speakers gave fantastic examples of great practice in their own organisations, and what was involved, including the challenges. It was inspirational to hear what they made possible for their communities and the capacity for growth, providing there is a solid team and foundation.

NALW spoke about us all needing to collectively voice the value of Link Workers and how to champion the time and resources needed for Link Workers, in order to fulfil their roles and best support patients.

NALW are working towards policies and best practice for this new and emerging role, which feels like a welcome organisation during all the current challenges and changes.

NALW recognised how Link Workers need to be recognised as a profession of its own and to stand proud amongst all the other professions, and conferences such as this one is a chance to nourish the work done by all.

Contacts were shared and a WhatsApp group has been set up in which several of those present are sharing stories during this new and nerve wracking time.

Prior to this conference, NALW included me in a peer mentoring conference call when I first started in my role, which involved learning from an experienced Link Worker and a new Social Prescribing Link Worker based elsewhere.

Since social prescribing is initially starting with one or two Link Workers for each PCN, it is key to break isolation and conferences like these and NALW’s work makes you feel inspired and not alone in your efforts.

Further information:
National Association of Link Workers is the only UK professional network for Social Prescribing Link Workers increasing professionalism and reducing isolation. A UK community of practice for all Social Prescribing Link Workers to share learning, build resilience, develop, network and support each other in order to achieve improved quality of life for themselves, their clients/patients and communities.

Contact us to get access to our exclusive 9 regional/national community of practice 2019 reports or Join here if you employ Social Prescribing Link Workers or a Link Worker.

2nd UK Annual Link Worker Day and Conference is 20th April 2020

Social Prescribing Link Worker Reflection feedback: North East Social Prescribing Link Worker Conference 15th October 2019

Reflection feedback from National Association of Link Workers North East Social Prescribing Link Worker Conference 15th October 2019 by a Social Prescribing Link Worker

On reflection after attending this conference I would like to give my opinion of what I found helpful and what positives and negatives I brought away with me.

The conference was a good sized group for me to feel confident enough to bring my own ideas and experiences forward. Not too overwhelming and a positive environment where you could discuss achievements, goals and worries around the new Roles.

I was excited about some projects that other Well -being facilitators in Durham had done and this has given me inspiration to try to get something similar set up in Hartlepool.

The group in question was a men’s group around losing weight, making friends and getting active. It had been a twelve week project, where nutrition and football had been combined to achieve weight loss goal at the end of it and some continued friendships. This had led to some of the gents, doing couch to 5k together independently after the project had finished and continue to meet up.

The only negative from that was that they had very good funding/ grants and we currently have no personal health budgets or extra spending to facilitate such a group. I am however in further conversations with my clinical lead and PCN to see if we can group together to fund something similar.

I also thought that it was great within this large team of Well -Being facilitators they had different levels of experience and worked together and in small groups to get things set up and achieved. Good support network.

It was brought to our attention that Roles were paid differently in different locations but we were all in fact doing much the same Role. Funding was also an issue in other areas.

Areas where link workers/Social prescribers were spread thinly didn’t always work best for the patient. This was due to the PCN’s still wanting more time of the Social prescribing link worker per size of practice, as opposed how many patients you would see per PCN.

I took from this that hopefully as the PCN’s work together, they will start to understand this expectation to split hours does not put the patient first. I also thought where other Social prescribing link workers at the conference, had a specific cohort of patients they seemed to have a clearer goal and better outcomes.

I thought that doing the activities together got everyone talking about different perspectives and ideas and how you could build your support network.

Projects that had ran from one hub or centre point for patients within a PCN, seemed to work well. Also having the flexibility around home visits and clinics, so as not to exclude certain patients who were in fact wanting to make changes around their health and wellbeing but unable to get to clinics.

The day gave me a feeling that we were on the right track in the way we are helping the patients but that there is a long way to go in making sure that PCN’s understand our new roles. Previously with Care coordinators they had a strict guideline of Cohort patients and it will be a challenge to get the correct referrals coming through. For example rather than the patient being at crisis point at the time of referral, to get them to see the social prescribing link workers early on in diagnosis or treatments. Then prevention steps can be taken to help the patient have control over their Health and Wellbeing and get valuable support before medications are their only option.Discussions were had around not racing to fix people. Being gradual with approach to get the best outcomes and not pressure people into making quick (non -sustainable changes) came out from the day. Looking at how we can enable the patient more to gain in confidence, to enable them to take control of their health going forward (long after our interventions).

The NHS England guide of 250 patients per full time Social prescriber seemed varied. Those that were able to take on large groups may be seeing more and those that worked Part time and lone working were seeing less.

Explaining this to PCN’s is quite difficult over a few surgeries.

Five surgeries over one PCN and a four day 30 hour week

Seeing Five patients a week (possibly one per surgery) sounds silly to the surgeries but is actually one more than expectations to get best outcomes and be able to review and spend time with these patients. Being able to accompany patient’s places and support them in their choices is part of the role but not achievable if you are assigned to half a day in each practice. Flexibility is a must to get the Best from the role and outcomes for the patient.

You may see more if they are all navigation patients and less if more complex cases.

It would seem that large teams have this distributed out to relevant staff. Those lone works and small teams covering multiple surgeries will possibly just end up fire fighting and not using the role in the correct and most useful way if PCN’s do not see its 250 per PCN and not split equally over surgeries.

This is something to keep in mind and hopefully to keep putting the point across, that it is patient numbers per PCN and not how many per surgery.

I hope that there will be some other conferences that I can attend in the future. The more Knowledge and support you have within Social Prescribing can only be a positive.

I would definitely recommend this to my other colleagues. I found it helpful, insightful and enjoyed the experience of meeting other Social prescribing link workers to share best practice.

NB: note to be reproduced without our permission

Further information:

National Association of Link Workers is the only UK professional network for Social Prescribing Link Workers increasing professionalism and reducing isolation. A UK community of practice for all Social Prescribing Link Workers to share learning, build resilience, develop, network and support each other in order to achieve improved quality of life for themselves, their clients/patients and communities. Contact us to get access to our exclusive 9 regional/national community of practice 2019 reports or  Join here if you employ Social Prescribing Link Workers or a Link Worker.

2nd UK Annual Link Worker Day and Conference is 20th April 2020 

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker? Social Prescribing Link Workers use strength-based approaches to increase people’s confidence to take control of their health and wellbeing. They work in partnership with people, actively listening to understand what matters to them from a holistic perspective, cocreating action plans and goals to meet their needs. This means they need to gain and maintain people’s trust and confidence.

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker

Social Prescribing Link Workers undertake varying roles and responsibilities dependent on the local social prescribing model. However these generic core summary applies.
Someone who:

✓ Uses a strength based approach to increase people’s confidence to take control of their health wellbeing

✓ Builds trust and relationships with people

✓ Gives people time to talk about what matters to them

✓ Actively listens to understand what matters to people from a holistic perspective

✓ Co-creates solutions with people

✓ Enables and supports access to solutions

✓ Facilitates joined up care and social inclusiveness

✓ Is knowledgeable about the range of local support available to help with people’s wellbeing issues

Recommended references:

Code of Practice for Social Prescribing

NHS England Social Prescribing reference guide for Primary Care Networks

10 things NHS need to get right to properly implement social prescribing nationally

Social Prescribing NHS

1. Social prescribing is complex: Whilst funding is important, we must avoid mandated approaches which reduce complex human processes to a series of mechanical steps. Social prescribing is about building relationship and trust which takes time.

2. Social policy: we need to think broader about the social and wider determinants of health and social policy addressing these. Otherwise we are scratching the surface. Social prescribing link worker cannot perform magic, we need an honest conversation across government departments about policies that are unhelpful or hindering positive social prescribing outcomes.

3. Evaluating impact needs a different approach to the typical linear, cause and effect method the NHS typically uses. Otherwise the danger is we end up measuring the wrong things, not those that matter to people. This can lead to a perception of failure of social prescribing. There appears to be too much pressure on PCNs to measure outcomes too soon to justify the investment, this doesn’t reflect the realty on the ground regarding how long and what is required to get the outcomes. It also does not take into account that most complex interventions require multiple people / organisations to play a role in those outcomes.

4. A joint commissioning approach is needed as NHS is not the only funder in social prescribing. This is about NHS joining others who are already funding social prescribing link workers. The number of existing social prescribing link workers far exceeds the current NHS link worker funding commitment for 2019/2020.

5. Lack of emphasis on coproduction: There is isn’t wide enough recognition of the importance of coproduction. Patients and link workers are key to successful social prescribing outcomes, yet policies have not been informed by them. The success of social prescribing relies on the success of link workers to maintain public confidence in social prescribing link workers. The code of practice for social prescribing developed by the National Association of Link Workers is non-model specific, which increases consistency in professional practice, ensures professional competence and public confidence.

6. Key learnings have not been acknowledged by policy makers and we risk relearning mistakes and wasting taxpayers money. NHS must acknowledge, learn from what has gone on before, collaborate and not try to reinvent the wheel.

7. Duplication: by separating the new 1000 link workers in primary care networks from existing link workers, we are concerned that unhelpful and unnecessary bureaucracy is being created and that may increase inequality and risk to patient safety.

8. VCSE: Without support and funding the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector’s role in social prescribing will be unsustainable. 74% of link workers who responded to our survey in 2019 identified a lack of funding or services in the community was the biggest challenge to their role. VCSE provide support to the person beyond link worker. Therefore, it is essential that they are able to do this.

9. Social Prescribing Link Worker workforce: much thought needs to go into making link working attractive; link worker pay equity, workload, retention, training, peer support and wellbeing. As well as consideration for the role of volunteers.

10. Understanding the value social prescribing link workers bring: Primary Care Networks need to be allowed time to understand the role and value social prescribing link workers would bring to their practice and local population and what is required. As the funding to employ a link worker isn’t ring fenced, we are concerned that a lack of understanding could result in preference to substitute between link worker and other roles. Furthermore, recruitment for link workers should not be reduced to a tick box exercise. Whilst, financial incentive is good, it would not be enough to properly implement social prescribing nationally. Ensuring understanding of the value link workers bring and invoking the intrinsic motivation of primary care networks, communities and patients is essential.

For questions, comments and enquiries, contact  National Association of Link Workers

Reference materials

Getting to know link workers

Code of practice for social prescribing

Setting Social Prescribing Link Workers up for success: what you must know

Setting Social Prescribing Link Workers up for success

Social Prescribing Link Workers are integral part of the primary care network team, delivering holistic service to patients and improving the health of the local population. If social prescribing is designed correctly, it will mainstream joined up care across the health and social care system, help reduce the workload for GPs, build patient resilience and enable access to community-based support that can help improve their health and well-being. Social Prescribing Link Worker brings the community into NHS and enables move to a social model of health.

Social prescribing is about adopting a community centred approach to ensure sustainability:

• Seeing the community as part of the solution and not the problem
• Power shifting to the community to do something for itself
• Engaging with the community
• Citizen power rather than tokenistic or consultative engagement.

Social Prescribing Link Workers work with effective pathways and community infrastructures to address local challenges. In order to the get the most out of the social prescribing link workers, they need to be adequately supported as highlighted in our report.

It is important that local key stakeholders, including health and social care professionals, service beneficiaries and referrers understand the need and limitations for the role.

A Social Prescribing Link Worker is a key component of the social prescribing programme. The social prescribing programme encompasses building relationship and trust within and outside the primary care network and coproducing the local model with the community assets.

It is essential to work collaboratively with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). They provide long term support beyond link worker. A social prescribing link worker is an expert in connecting and linking. Therefore, it is important that there is a VCSE and Volunteer infrastructure for the link worker to connect and link people to.

To be effective in the role, a social prescribing link worker needs to have the:
• Right personality
• Right skills
• Right knowledge
Right practice

The skills and experience required to fulfil the role should be informed by the local challenges addressed through social prescribing and the outcomes desired. In addition to skills, knowledge and personal attributes highlighted in the link worker report and code of practice for high quality social prescribing practice, the social prescribing link worker needs to be approachable, patient and trustworthy.

Here is what a current link worker said

“In order for me to have a good relationship with my client that I am working with they need to feel comfortable talking to me. It makes no difference how skilled I am or how willing the client is to engage, if they don’t feel comfortable working with me, talking to me, or sharing their problems with me then I am not likely to be very successful in keeping them engaged and completing any tasks that have been identified for support”

As a rule of thumb, social prescribing link workers should be able to:

• Use a strength-based approach to increase people’s confidence to take control of their health wellbeing
• Build trust and relationships with people
• Be non-judgemental in listening to what matters to people.
• Actively listen to understand what matters to people from a holistic perspective
• Jointly create action plans and goals with people to meet their needs from a holistic perspective.
• Be knowledgeable about the range of local support available to help with people’s wellbeing issues
• Enable and support access to community-based support
• Facilitate joined up care and social inclusiveness
• Work in partnership with colleagues, other professionals, communities and organisations to promote the well-being and choice of individuals and carers.

To mention some skills required:

• Active listening
• Person centred
• Emotional resilience
• Empathy
• Emotional intelligence
• Advocacy
• Coaching
• Goal setting
• Problem solving

With such a varied role, continuing professional development is necessary. Learning needs should be constantly reviewed and driven by local population need.

Lack of adequate social prescribing link worker support will result in low link worker moral and motivation and effectiveness. Our comprehensive social prescribing link worker support offer is for organisations and primary care networks who wish to reduce costs as a result of high staff turn over and increase successful social prescribing programme (key performance indicators) KPIs. You can contact us to discuss our comprehensive social prescribing link worker support offer or sign up for standard membership here if eligible

Reference materials

Who is a social prescribing link worker

Checklist for setting social prescribing link workers up for success

Code of practice

Getting to know link workers