The seminar started with strong and positive statements about the benefits of social prescribing from Lord Low of Dalston, including social prescribing’s time has finally come.
The co-chair of the Social Prescribing Network Dr Michael Dixon followed saying social prescribing achieves sustainable funding in order to become a systemic part of the service offer rather than an add-on. The morning carried on presenting the plans from the Major of London to nurture healthy communities as their ultimate goal, including improving mental health across the London population.
The presentation closed with a request to take part in the upcoming Healthy London Partnership social prescribing strategy for London consultation at London.gov. James Sanderson demanded to unlock the assets everyone of us has as the experts of our care to connect with the expertise of the NHS and the experience of the voluntary sector. He also demanded to switch to a whole person approach switching from asking what’s the matter to you to what matters to you.
James Kinglsand followed saying 40% of GP appointments relate to psychological concerns and a big percentage of those require social interventions rather than pills. Overall, very positive words and statements asking for change within the current system but the barriers and struggles dominated the rest of presentations.
Issues like the current fragmented context of social prescribing, the need for a standardised easy referral mechanism, the lack of funding and the request of evaluations that demonstrate cost efficiently and savings within a limited period the time.
Following with concerns of social prescribing being treated as clinical work by needing to respond and be evidenced as such, starting with the use of language that has been given. The second part of the morning had inspiring talks from the charity and non-profit sector bringing a picture of real state of social prescribing, to which the public backed and questioned how to solve its barriers.
The event concluded with acknowledgement of those issues and stating the lack of answers to those, but hoping its momentum and small pockets of excellence can find its way to be implemented on larger scales. A final request to the NHS was to stop the small pilots to let the real work begin.