Social Prescribing Link Worker
Social Prescriber Link Workers (used interchangeably with social prescribers and SPLWs) are one of three additional roles under the umbrella of personalised care, with the aim of supporting people to improve their health and well-being, using a holistic approach and considering what matters to that individual.
The infographic below shows a broad overview of the 3 personalised care roles:
What can SPLWs do in Primary Care?
Given this broad remit the role of the SPLW can be flexible to suit the PCN or population/community. Some of the roles a social prescriber might do include:
- Connect people to community-based support, including community groups.
- Address the wider determinants of physical and mental health, such as housing, debt, stress and loneliness.
- Work collaboratively with a variety of local partners, to help people meet their practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing.
- Social prescribing can work particularly well for people with low-level mental health needs, long-term conditions and complex social needs.
- Collaborate with partners to identify gaps in the provision and support community offers to be sustainable and accessible.
For further information on what social prescribers may do, please visit What is Social Prescribing ? – Gloucestershire Primary Care Workforce Centre (glosprimarycare.co.uk).
The video below also provides more information:
Training and supervision
There are no particular qualifications required to become a social prescriber. Often this will come down to experience in relevant areas and the enthusiasm for the role. Experience of working with community partners can be useful, but not essential and training can be provided on the job to develop these skills. Further details can be found in the following framework NHS England » Workforce development framework: social prescribing link workers.
Download The welcome Pack which will provide some guidance to those new in role.
Details of the recommended training standards can be found at Arrs roles training requirements (personalisedcareinstitute.org.uk). On the same website, accredited training providers can also be found. On our website, you can find further information on training for social prescribers at Social Prescribing Training – Gloucestershire Primary Care Workforce Centre (glosprimarycare.co.uk).
A training directory of available training by role and topic can also be found here.
NHS England has set up an online community of people involved in social prescribing. We call this our ‘collaborative platform’. You will be encouraged to join it so that you can participate in forums with other link workers, share best practice and access resources provided by the national team. To join the online collaborative platform, please email email@example.com
Having appropriate supervision within the practice and/or PCN is vital. These personalised care roles provide immense support for our patients, however, they are often involved with complex and challenging patients. This is rewarding but does require support to ensure this doesn’t become a burden. A clinical supervisor is needed to provide day-to-day support and structured clinical supervision, often through a monthly review. Day-to-day support could be provided by the on-call GP, but having a named regular supervisor, often a GP lead, is important. Please see the induction section below for further information. You may also have a managerial supervisor as your line manager.
Reflective supervision is provided via the training hub, and currently, this is provided for free. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please see the summary produced by Dr Olesya Atkinson to support social prescribers, on the right hand side of this page.
Peer support is informally provided by NHSE on the email above in the training section. In county the training hub has supported the setup and facilitation of peer support for social prescribers and care co-ordinators.
Please see a suggested recruitment pack on the right hand side, which can be adapted for use in your PCN.