Citizens Advice Now Open
Every day Link Workers are asked to identify what is affecting someone’s health and wellbeing. Social Prescribers work with patients and their families/friends to find services and activities that offer practical, social and emotional support that will improve their health and wellbeing.
Patients who may have long-term conditions, mental health problems or feel lonely or isolated can be supported as well as those with short term needs, transport advice, information on support services in the area or any general enquiries about patient’s daily living changes. No question is too small or too large. A Link Worker is here to support all non-clinical needs.
Some people may like to refer themselves others will be referred from GP’s, Nurses, Paramedics, Pharmacist, Receptionist, Administrators and any other local NHS trusts and the emergency services..
As Link Workers we hope to build relationships with the patients and families we are helping by listening carefully to what’s important to them and what motivates them. We work with them to create personalised support plans that give them control over their health and wellbeing.
Our role will then be to connect our patients with local community and voluntary groups offering a range of activities and services. This could be art classes, gardening clubs or exercise groups. We may also help patients to seek more practical advice, for example on debt or housing issues.
As a Link Worker we work alongside a team of professionals including pharmacists, physiotherapists and other primary care staff to continue the support of our patients holistically to maintain a well-rounded support network.
Some key facts for our patients. The more you know the more you can understand some of the processes and challenges we face.
Every GP practice in England must “hold a contract” with NHS England. As part of our contract we MUST make available a proportion of our appointments to 111. This allows 111 to triage patients and if appropriate book the telephone appointment directly with the practice on behalf of the patient. During the height of the pandemics we had to make available 1 appointment per 500 registered patients. For us that was approximately 31 appointments. These appointments must be spread throughout the day and are not to be booked by surgery staff. That was 31 additional patient contacts that had to be fitted in to already full clinic lists. We were able to do this as some other “contractual” work was paused to allow for the added pressures the pandemic was bringing. Fortunately as the pandemic situation eases we now MUST make available 1 appointment per 3000 registered patients, approximately 6 appointments throughout the day. We know you would like to know what the GP’s are doing in the time they have now they don’t have an additional 25 patient contacts to address. Completing medical reports that have been on hold which had created a backlog as it was non priority work, restarting services like joint injections, contraceptive fittings, minor surgery, increased workload of test results being generated as our patients are being held in our hands, primary care, for longer without the help and intervention of secondary care as they too are under enormous pressure and have incredibly lengthy waiting lists. Non of this is our patients fault but please understand this is not ours either. It’s the system we currently are working with and we are doing our very best to help you all. So when the receptionist suggest to you that you call 111 this is because they have available slots to book into that we can not use until the appointment time has passed by which time the GP’s have been given more admin duties in that appointment time so not a minute of their day and precious time is not dealing with patient care.
We understand the system is frustrating. We are constantly reviewing and changing what we can to make things better and more accessible for you but some things we contractually can’t change.