RVA launches expanded Social Prescribing service

Primary interest
RVA is extending its existing Social Prescribing service to work with Primary Care Networks across Reading

This month RVA welcomes four new Social Prescribing Link Workers: Sharon Fitton, Louise Keane, Helen Murphy and Charlotte Netherton-Sinclair. They join longstanding Social Prescribers Amber Holdway and Sarah Martin, and Social Prescribing Coordinator Liz Morrison at RVA, and Age UK Berkshire’s Social Prescriber Jodie Burrage.

The Social Prescribing team will be working with Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across Reading, taking referrals from GPs and healthcare practitioners, as well as Reading Borough Council Adult Social Care, Royal Berkshire Hospital Occupational Therapists and Talking Therapies.

The aim of the Social Prescribing service is to link people aged 16 and over to the activities and support offered by Reading’s voluntary and community groups, empowering people to improve their health and wellbeing. NHS England explains why Social Prescribing is so valuable:

It’s estimated that one in five of the people who go to see their GP are troubled by things that can’t be cured by medical treatment. GPs tell us that they spend significant amounts of time dealing with the effects of poor housing, debt, stress and loneliness. Many people are overwhelmed and can’t reach out to make the connections that could make a difference to their situation. This is especially true for people who have long-term conditions, who need support with their mental health, who are lonely or isolated, or who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

That’s where Social Prescribing Link Workers come in, helping people to identify what matters to them, and work out how to connect with the community activities that might make a difference.

RVA Chief Executive Rachel Spencer said:

We are delighted to be expanding our Social Prescribing service, in partnership with Age UK Berkshire, at a time when making community connections and relieving pressure on the NHS has never been more important. Our Social Prescribing Link Workers will work as a key part of the primary care teams helping connect people to non-medical community support.

Further information
What is Social Prescribing? Short film from the Healthy London Partnership