Social Prescribing Link Worker

Social prescribing Link Workers (SPLWs) are becoming an integral part of Multi-Disciplinary Teams in Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Link Workers take a holistic view of people’s health and wellbeing to deliver non-medical care by connecting them with partners, services, community groups and local voluntary organisations that provide people with a sense of purpose and belonging. 

Social prescribing enables all primary care staff and local agencies to refer people to a link worker. Link workers connect people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support and give people time and focus on what matters to the person as identified through shared decision making or personalised care and support planning. They work within multidisciplinary teams and collaborate with local partners to support community groups to be accessible and sustainable and help people to start new groups. Social prescribing complements other approaches such as ‘active signposting’.

Social Prescribing Link Workers can support anyone who would benefit, including but not exclusively people in the following situations:

  • On the lower level of the mental health/illness continuum
  • With one or more long-term conditions
  • Who are lonely or experiencing social isolation
  • Who have complex social needs that affect their wellbeing
  • Who are having financial and housing issues
  • Carers
  • People who are experiencing domestic violence

Social Prescribing Link Workers may do one or more of the following:

  • Make observations from social and wider determinants of health point of view
  • Seek to address what matters to the individual holistically through time to talk and shared decision-making.
  • Facilitate, connect, and link people to the right support and interventions that can help address the identified needs, which in turn helps to improve mental health and physical well-being.
  • Refer to a variety of voluntary and community sector schemes that provide activities and support such as volunteering, exercise groups, gardening, healthy eating, and cooking.
  • Support individuals to be resilient , independent, empowered, and able to unblock barriers to better health and wellbeing which are largely responsible for health inequalities.

Link workers typically support people on average over 6-12 contacts (including phone calls, meetings and home visits) with a typical caseload of 200-250 people per year, depending on the complexity of people’s needs and the maturity of the social prescribing scheme.

Funding

  • Indictive Salary AfC 5
  • From April 2020, this role will be reimbursed at 100% of actual salary plus defined on-costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £35,389 over 12 months.
  • For social prescribing services sub-contracted by a PCN to another provider, the PCN may claim a contribution towards additional costs charged by the sub-contracted provider of up to £200 per month (£2,400 per year) for each WTE that the sub-contracted provider has apportioned to the PCN related activity. The overall contribution claimed cannot exceed £200 per month and the total amount claimed must not exceed the maximum reimbursable amount for a social prescribing link worker. 

Training/Development

PCNs are required to ensure that social prescribing link workers complete the following training:

  • Completion of the NHSE/I online learning programme: https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/social-prescribing/
  • Enrolled in or qualified in appropriate training as set out by the Personalised Care Institute
  • Attendance of peer support networks coordinated by NHSE/I at ICS and/or STP level

PCNs must provide social prescribing link workers with:

  • Regular access to clinical supervision provided by a GP
  • Access to GP IT systems to enable them to record referrals using SNOMED codes

Peer Support & Workforce Development

Welcome pack for newly appointed Social Prescribing Link Workers in primary care networks

Further Information

Social Prescribing – Technical Annex (NHSE/I) includes detailed information for PCNs on recruitment, induction, training and supervision of SPLWs

Social Prescribing Link Worker more about the role, including job descriptions, case studies.

Click Here for more information about Link Worker role, funding, training and development.