Connect Well West Kent
Connect Well West Kent is a programme of social prescribing funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group to gather insight and evidence to understand the benefits of social prescribing; to the person, the health system and the community. This is a three year programme, working in partnership with the University of Kent, to track the outcomes of patients supported by a link worker and understand how social prescribing impacts on their health and wellbeing.
We are working in five lead GP practices, each with a dedicated 'link worker' supporting health and clinical staff to address the social and community needs of their patients. We are currently working in;
The Vine Medical Practice
Borough Green Medical Practice
Snodland Medical Practice
Marden Medical Practice
St Andrews Medical Practice
We are also working in a small number of 'satellite' practices to gather greater understanding of local issues and challenges.
Link workers take referrals from GPs and their colleagues, when a non clinical need is identified.
Social prescribing particularly works for a wide range of people, including people: • with one or more long-term conditions • who need support with their mental health • who are lonely or isolated • who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
Link workers give people time and focus on what matters to the person as identified through shared decision making or personalised care and support planning. They connect people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support. We use our specialist directory, 'Connect Well', developed by our partners 'Simply Connect' and populated by our Information Officer with hundreds of local opportunities.
Link workers collaborate with local partners to support community groups to be accessible and sustainable and help people to start new groups.
"Social prescribing has a huge impact on my work as a GP – increasing patients’ sense of self-worth and confidence to manage their conditions. It complements the medical care I give to ensure all needs are met. I have seen patients presenting with functional symptoms find a renewed self-belief so their physical symptoms diminish and housebound patients overcome anxiety and attend the surgery. One patient recently said ‘I wish I could keep (our social prescribing link worker) in the corner of my living room and press a button so she’d appear and motivate me. She has changed my outlook on life’."