People often see their GP with problems that are mainly social (e.g. loneliness), environmental (e.g. housing issues) or economic (e.g. worries about debt) in nature. These ‘non-medical’ difficulties can affect how someone feels physically or psychologically. A GP may not be the best person to help. This is why social prescribing has been introduced into primary care. Social prescribing involves drawing on ‘community assets’ (e.g. local groups, organisations, charities) to assist with ‘non-medical’ difficulties.
Link workers are employed to facilitate the delivery of social prescribing in primary care. GPs can refer a patient to a link worker who has time to find out what is happening in that person’s life and what they want to change/address. They then co-produce an action plan, based on the individual’s health and well-being priorities. The action plan concentrates on linking the patient to relevant ‘community assets’.
Our research will explore why link workers may produce benefits in some settings for some individuals but not for others. We aim to understand and explain how and why link workers produce specific outcomes in certain contexts.
For the study we will put together a steering committee. This will consist of about 4-5 people (academics, health professionals and a member of the public). The group will meet 3-4 times during the 30 months project. This committee will have oversight of the study. It will monitor progress against milestones and spend against budget. It will also promote the project, helping to ensure that its findings reach a wide range of people.
We are looking for a member of the public to be a member of this steering committee.
We can pay for any travel expenses (if we are able to meet face-to-face rather than via online communication).
The study is due to start in March 2021. Therefore, we are seeking to finalise the make up of the steering committee by the end of January 2021. The first steering committee meeting will be in May 2021.
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences