Two Social Prescribing Updates

A roundup of two social prescribing updates, from the Accelerating Innovation Programme and the National Academy for Social Prescribing.

This post contains two social prescribing updates which may be of interest. The first discusses the Accelerating Innovation Programme, which aims to address health inequalities and support Covid-recovery plans by harnessing skills and assets of national organisations to complement local community action. The second post, is a call for case studies from the National Academy for Social Prescribing. Both posts can be read in full below.

Accelerating Innovation Programme – Community of Practice

The new Accelerating Innovation programme (a partnership between NASP, RVS and NHSE) will bring together a community of practice of national voluntary organisations (including their local affiliated organisations) to support the development of new ideas and partnerships for social prescribing activities.

The programme aims to address health inequalities and support Covid-recovery plans by harnessing skills and assets of national organisations to complement local community action. The programme will support members in developing good connections with local health and care systems and community groups, provide learning opportunities, and share innovative best practice and tools for innovation.

Read the blog by James Sanderson and Jeremy Hughes to find out more, and register your interest in joining the Community of Practice by 3rd October.

National Academy for Social Prescribing – Case Studies Call Out

Two national-reaching publications have been in touch with National Academy for Social Prescribing about social prescribing for people of retirement age and above. They are looking for case studies and examples, and potentially to interview a couple of people who have experienced social prescribing and seen a benefit to their physical or mental health.

If you can help, please email Francesca Baker francesca.baker@nasp.info by Tuesday 14 Sept. We appreciate and apologise for the fact that this is such short notice, please note that this timeline is being driven by external organisations rather than Age UK.

Long Covid Experience Survey

NHS England has relaunched the Long Covid Experience Survey to help understand what is needed to support people experiencing Long Covid.

As part of the NHSE Long Covid Project, Asthma UK and The British Lung Foundation Partnership have relaunched the Long Covid Experience Survey to help better understand the experiences of people still struggling four or more weeks after their initial infection of Covid-19. The survey is open to anyone who has had, or think they may have had, Covid-19. If you have time, please share the survey with your networks and encourage as many of your beneficiaries as possible to take the survey. Find out more details below.

Responses will all be anonymised, and the survey will not retain any personal details. Information gathered will be used to inform research, campaigns, and to develop services to support people affected by ongoing symptoms of Long Covid. This will help us all to better understand what is needed to support people experiencing Long Covid.

Here is the link to the Long Covid Experience Survey.

Age UK and NHSE mental health campaign

Age UK has joined up with NHS England to encourage older people to access the help they need. Find out about the campaign here.

Older people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and unsurprisingly this has taken a toll on their mental health. Our latest research has shown that older people are feeling more anxious, experiencing low mood, and have lost motivation to do the things they used to enjoy. Before the pandemic, older people were already less likely to have access to mental health support, including talking therapies, but with older people now putting off accessing healthcare, there is a real risk that even fewer older people will get the support they need. That’s why we are joining up with NHS England to encourage older people to access the help they need.

What are we doing?

We have been working with NHS England on their new Help Us Help You campaign, which is focused on supporting older people to access talking therapies if they are struggling with their mental health or finding things are getting on top of them. We will be sharing new content on social media to reassure older people that the NHS is still there for them and that their GP can help if they are feeling anxious or low. We are also seeking to break down barriers to getting help by explaining how mental health services are currently working and providing information on what older people can expect.

To support the campaign, we have new content and assets which can be shared:

  • New videos with older people talking about how their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic and what has helped them to cope
  • A blog by GP Carolyn Chew-Graham explaining how talking therapies work and how you can access them. You can see the blog here.
How can you get involved?

If you have time, there are a couple of ways that you can support the campaign:

  • Remind the older people that you work with that the NHS is still open and able to support anyone who is worried about their mental health. Encourage older people to talk to their GP or to self-refer to talking therapies if they are finding things are getting on top of them- www.nhs.uk/talk
  • Look out for our new videos on social and share them with your networks and on your social media channels

If you have any questions about the campaign please contact charlotte.lynch@ageuk.org.uk

Template Letter to support unpaid Carers during lockdown

NHS England have created a template latter that unpaid carers can use if they need to explain why they are visiting different homes frequently.

NHS England have issued a template letter to provide support for unpaid carers who may need to provide an explanation as to why they need to be out more frequently or visit different homes under greater lockdown restrictions due to caring responsibilities. Age UK partners are able to distribute the letter to those who are suitable and there is guidance provided on how and when it can be issued.  

It is important that the letter is not made available for public download but issued on an individual basis where it could be helpful.

There are two documents attached below:

  • The template letter
  • Guidance on using the letter

If you have any questions about using the letter or the guidance please contact Health Influencing at healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk.

NHS England and Improvement encouraging primary care networks to recruit Social Prescribing Link Workers

NHS England and Improvement is encouraging primary care networks to recruit additional Social Prescribing Link Workers, with an offer of funding to cover recruitment and induction costs.

Social prescribing link workers (SPLWs) have been an important part of the response to Covid-19, helping to support people with mental health and social issues and contributing to how general practice has responded to the additional needs of their population. With the impact of the virus likely to be felt for a long time ahead, NHS England and Improvement is encouraging primary care networks (PCNs) to recruit additional SPLWs, with an offer of funding to cover recruitment and induction costs. This is a time-limited support offer specifically for PCNs, available until January 31 2021.

The details of the offer are in a letter which has gone out to PCNs and NHS clinical commissioning groups, which you can read here.

Interested PCNs are being encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest no later than 24 August. Any questions about the offer can be sent to england.linkworkerrecruitment@nhs.net