Health Exchange awarded Health and Wellbeing Fund to deliver 3 year Social Prescribing Programme across Birmingham.
Health Exchange are pleased to announce that its proposal to the Department of Health’s VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund has been successful. In partnership with Our Health Partnership, the programme will support GPs to address a wide range of social, emotional and practical needs before demand reaches NHS.
As the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham is full of vibrance and opportunity. However, with a population of 1.2 million there are inevitably healthcare challenges. Health inequalities exist in Birmingham on quite a considerable scale, with those in the most deprived areas having an average life expectancy of 7.4 years less for men and 4.9 years less for women than those living in more affluent areas. In addition, those in more deprived areas are three times more likely to die prematurely from preventable conditions, be admitted to hospital and come into contact with mental health services (Birmingham City Council – Healthy City, Healthy Place, 2016).
Not only does this reduce the wellbeing of the individual, but it places a considerable demand on the NHS, with many individuals repeatedly accessing primary and secondary care services. Although there are a plethora of third sector organisations working to improve health outcomes in Birmingham, it is clear that there is a need for a more embedded, coordinated and scalable effort that connects into (and out of) primary care.
The Social Prescribing Programme will aim to address health inequalities in Birmingham by identifying and overcoming wellness issues before the demand hits the NHS. It will target and engage with the diverse communities of Birmingham, ensuring that all populations are supported. The programme will be available to anyone over the age of 16 in the Our Health Partnership practices and individuals who join the scheme will be able to access support the following support from a Community Link Worker:
- One to one support
- Flexible hours to meet GP times, evenings and weekends
- Positive lifestyle coaching
- Diet and nutrition guidance
- Advice on increasing physical activity
- Stop smoking advice
- Weight management guidance
Community Link Workers will also actively encourage and promote small changes within the home to support sustained and long-term behaviour change. The service does not aim to ‘discharge’ people, but rather mentor them to become volunteers or community champions for the scheme and other organisations.
For individuals, their circles of support and communities, the following benefits will emerge:
- Improved confidence
- Reduced social isolation
- Increased physical activity
- Improved ability to manage stress
- Improved ability to manage long term conditions
- Reduced risk of falling
In increasing these positive outcomes in patients, particularly those in the most deprived areas of the city, we can expect to improve Birmingham’s health economy. Greater health and wellbeing within the population will see a reduction in the need for GP appointments and A&E attendances, particularly those relating to preventable illnesses. By linking together community assets, communities, statutory services, GPs and the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector we will enable person-centred care and reduce demand on services. This in turn will save local authorities and NHS trusts vital funds and allow communities take a greater role in supporting themselves.
Amy Davenport, Head of Business Development at Health Exchange, said:
‘I am incredibly proud that our proposal has been accepted. The team have worked very hard to create an inclusive and ambitious programme that will help some of Birmingham’s most vulnerable patients access the support they need. Looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and cracking on!’
The scheme will be rolled out in 2019.
To view the Government’s press release click here.
Health Exchange are a Birmingham based social enterprise whose aim is to shape the design and development of health and wellbeing services in a way that will enable everyone to have the capacity and confidence to choose positive take control of their own health and wellbeing.
Our Health Partnership are a super partnership of 38 GP practices across Birmingham and Shropshire. It was created 2 years ago by a group of successful GP practices. A key cornerstone of the creation of the partnership was to ensure that ‘life is made better for patients’. As a collective they focus on providing exceptional GP services for patients while managing our practices innovatively, efficiently and effectively for best value from our budgets.