Local GP Sees The Benefits To Social Prescribing

Linking people to the right support saves GP time and resources

Doctor Istvan Koczka at Burnley Wood Medical Centre called to enquire about a patient he had referred. This patient is deaf and had been repeatedly contacting the surgery and asking to speak to the GP about her mental health. 

Dr Koczka was due to call this patient as she had arranged an appointment on the 22nd July. On the 22nd of July she was also referred to the Burnley Link Worker of the BPRCVS Social Prescribing Team. The doctor said he was unsure as to what else he could do to support the patient and was calling to see what support I had provided. The Link Worker explained and did the following: 

I spoke to the patient over text relay and email to better understand her situation. I linked her to a number of services: Elefriends for online mental health peer support; Samaritans email service; and referred her to the Deaf Link Worker.

I contacted the surgery to find out more about the situation with her health and to see what referrals had already been made for her. The surgery advised she had been referred through to Lancashire Women for support with her mental health and had been put on a waiting list. 

I contacted Lancashire Women to chase up the referral and they explained the delay in offering support was around making the service accessible for the patient. They advised they were awaiting further guidance before they could offer the patient support. 

I contacted the deaf link worker to advise of this and explained her role to the patient. The deaf link worker explained she would support Lancashire Women to provide a service accessible for the patient.

The deaf link worker and I exchanged contact details so we could keep in touch and work together to support the patient through combining BSL skills, expert knowledge of deaf support with a link to the GP and access to local knowledge of support and community partners.

I contacted the deaf link worker to share new information about shout text service for people experiencing a mental health crisis and explained this service to the GP.

Doctor Koczka said the support we provided was an excellent service and has requested to job shadow me in the autumn so he can better understand the social prescribing support we provide. He also advised that the patient hasn't been in touch since the 22nd July when she had previously been repeatedly contacting them. This shows how linking people to the right support through social prescribing can save GP time and resources.