With the advent of NHSE-funded Primary Care Network (PCN) Link Workers, there is an opportunity to begin to establish equity of social prescribing provision across the population.
The diagram below describes place at three levels – GP practice level, One Town level and PCN. It is important for wellbeing objectives and activities to be co-ordinated and aligned.
On their own, PCN link workers would only be able to reach a tiny proportion of residents who may wish to use their service, as PCNs can cover populations of over 50,000 residents belonging to around 5 GP practices. It is not unusual for a social prescriber to have seen fewer than 400 people per year, given that they often see the same individual multiple times. If the link worker’s role is also to map and keep up to date all the local services available to a person from each of the practices, their time to meet patients is even more limited. In addition, it is clear from the work of One Towns with existing social prescribing roles, that a significant proportion of the need identified is not currently available to ‘prescribe’ to.
One Northern Devon seeks to build social prescribing teams in each of the PCNs in a hub and spoke model with the PCN link worker as the ‘hub’ and community development workers based in each of the main communities as the ‘spokes’. In addition to these new roles, it is important that existing voluntary sector roles are valued and utilised and these will also be invited to be part of the social prescribing team to reduce duplication and make best use of resources.
This model is now partially in place across Northern Devon and One Northern Devon is now seeking to ensure that it will be fully in place by the end of 2019 to ensure equity across the locality.