Social prescribing and volunteering

Social prescribing and volunteering resources can be found here.

Social prescribing link workers form part of the multidisciplinary teams in primary care networks (PCNs) and are uniquely placed to work closely with GPs, local authorities, health and care professionals and voluntary sector partners to coordinate support for these people whilst they are self-isolating.

Supporting people at the highest risk during COVID-19 incident

The responsibilities of social prescribing link workers would be:

  • to make initial contact with the person on the identified list via telephone or video appointments
  • to discuss their needs, such as help with shopping, medication, keeping physically active and emotional support
  • to work with the patient to develop a short plan which covers their practical, physical and emotional needs
  • in partnership with known voluntary organisations, local authority and appropriately trained volunteers, organising practical and emotional support for people at highest risk
  • arranging follow-up phone calls as needed, to review needs and to help coordinate services that support the most at risk in their homes.


Mobilise local community networks to support those most at risk

The responsibilities of social prescribing link workers would be:

  • to co-ordinate VCSE organisations, local authority, NHS volunteer responders, community groups and other partners to work together to implement the person’s plan.  Please note we have received clarification that the focus of this is more on awareness of local and national support offers available. 
  • to support voluntary organisations and community groups to switch their face-to-face activities to virtual services, helping them to run peer support groups, via teleconference and social media
  • to support your local public health team in training volunteers and community groups to keep themselves and others safe in relation to COVID-19.


Increasing social prescribing link work capacity

Those identified as most at risk may be linked to their social prescribing link worker. GPs together with their PCNs should assess that this is the case and also take steps to ensure other people who have significant social and emotional needs, but not on the list, can be supported in a way that their condition does not deteriorate and consequently add pressure onto the health service.

There are a number of steps that GPs and their PCNs can take to increase the number of social prescribing link workers:

  • draw down on the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme to recruit a team (for example, four) of social prescribing link workers
  • work in partnership with VCSE organisations to recruit and deploy social prescribing link workers (or equivalent named person co-ordinating care).