Social Prescribing Service

What is the Rotherham Social Prescribing Service?

The Rotherham Social Prescribing Service helps adults over the age of 18 with long term health conditions and mental health issues to improve their health and wellbeing by helping them to access community activities and services.

Social prescribing is part of a wider multi-agency approach to care planning for targeted patients in Rotherham. Referrals to the service must come from Rotherham GP practices or community mental health teams where patients are initially identified then referred for a social prescription if appropriate.

The main aim of social prescribing is to help people become more resilient and able to self-care. People referred to the service are more likely to continue living at home independently and also become less dependent on statutory health and social care services.

The service works with GPs and mental health services, planning integrated and pre-emptive care for people who are at higher risk of unplanned hospital admissions, presenting at accident and emergency, going into residential care prematurely or becoming dependent on mental health services.

The multi-agency approach enables our Social Prescribing team of VCS (Voluntary and Community Services) Advisors to work alongside GPs, Community Nurses, Social Workers and Community Mental Health teams to address the combined clinical, social care and wider social needs of eligible people.

VCS Advisors are not medically trained and are not Social Workers. The role of VCS Advisors is to address people’s wider social needs by helping them to access voluntary and community activities and services. Advisors meet referred people to assess each person’s individual social needs including practical, social and emotional support. An action plan is agreed and a copy left with each patient. Practical support may include services such as advocacy, respite for carers or help with welfare benefits advice; social support may include befrienders taking people to social groups; emotional support may be low level counselling or bereavement support groups. VCS Advisors will advise GPs and Social Workers if people need clinical or social care support at home to help maintain their independence.

To improve the offer of services available in Rotherham, the Social Prescribing Service provides funding to local voluntary and community organisations to provide services to meet people’s immediate social needs. All funded services are time-limited to allow space for new referrals. The time-limited funded support services are pathways to independence and offer people time to grow in confidence, removing many barriers to social inclusion and facilitating better health, wellbeing and happiness.

The Rotherham Social Prescribing Service is funded by the Rotherham Better Care Fund and Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group.