Evaluating the national roll out of social prescribing link workers in primary care.
Social prescribing, sometimes known as community referral, is where doctors and nurses work with someone called a ‘link worker’ to help patients find services from local, voluntary and community groups to improve their health and wellbeing. Examples of these services include arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, healthy eating advice, and a range of sports.
Link workers support people with emotional and practical needs by considering all aspects of their lives, not just their medical needs. Their role is to help connect people to information, advice, activities and other services provided by a range of voluntary and community groups.
Link workers are now being introduced by the NHS across the UK.
We want to find out how link worker services operate, how well they work, who does and doesn’t use them, whether they are of benefit to people and are a good use of NHS resources. The research will benefit patients by identifying how link worker services can be developed. We will study how to help people access social prescribing services and use them effectively, and to make sure that everyone has access no matter where they live or who they are.
We are looking for a Public Contributor living in East Lothian, Midlothian or West Lothian in Scotland to join a Research Advisory Group. We would like members of the Research Advisory Group to have an interest in, and experience of, social prescribing.
What will I be asked to do?
We are setting up a Research Advisory Group of people with social prescribing experience and clinical and service experts. This group will guide our research as it progresses and help us to identify potential benefits to people and to the NHS.
Your role on the Research Advisory Group would be to:
- Bring your experience of social prescribing and link workers to the Group and contribute to discussions from this perspective
- Contribute to decision-making to support the study progress and ensure that what we do is relevant to the public
- Help to create patient-facing documents that will be used in the study and ensure that they are accessible and appropriate
- Advise on suitable methods and places to recruit to the study
- Identify the key messages that we need to share with the public and develop plans for how we do this
We will ask about your experiences of accessing social prescribing and link workers to help inform our discussions.
When and where?
The Research Advisory Group will meet up to 9 times virtually during the project, which is funded for 3 years. We would like to hold the first meeting online in April or May 2022. You may also be asked to reply to emails between meetings and read pre-meeting material, as required.
Will I get anything for taking part?
We follow guidance from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on compensating public contributors for their involvement in our work. Payments will be made in vouchers after each meeting.
Evaluating the national roll out of social prescribing link workers in primary care. Discussion
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