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Doncaster and Barnsley – Social Prescribing

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The Doncaster and Barnsley social prescribing service advisors, in partnership with GPs, Community Nurses and other primary care professionals, refer patients to a range of local, non-clinical services. They carry out a home visit and have a positive conversation, empowering people to build resilience and find solutions which will improve their health and wellbeing.

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They connect people with their community by helping them to find local and personal solutions to non-medical needs, like making connections and emotional wellbeing. This also reduces pressure on the health and social care systems.

“I think a lot of patients end up being diagnosed with anxiety … when in actual fact what they have is a fairly normal response to a fairly grotty social situation. So address the social situation and then I think it has a knock-on effect into their physical and mental health as well.”

(GP Interview: Evaluation of Doncaster Social Prescribing Service, Sheffield Hallam University, September 2016)

“We have another part of the jigsaw that we can offer to patients. So the benefits are like M, who instead of visiting or calling 38 times in three months, now doesn’t call. That’s freed up our time to do something else and concentrate on the patients that need our medical expertise a bit more.”

Dr NB (Barnsley GP) An independent evaluation of the Doncaster social prescribing service, conducted by Sheffield Hallam University in 2016 found: 68% of customers reduced their GP visits, there was a significant (25% points) positive impact on anxiety and depression and 88% reported increased awareness of community services and support. There was a significant 10% increase in wellbeing in areas such as supporting customers to deal with problems, and feeling closer to other people, which helps to prevent isolation and loneliness.