CDRCN invited member groups and others to two important consultation events earlier this month to consider plans for Social Prescribing in the district.
Social Prescribing refers to GPs and other health professionals making referrals for people ultimately to engage in community activities rather than clinical/medical interventions.
As a Healthy Living Centre the Network is involved in a new project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and DAERA to create Social Prescribing opportunities for 160 people in the district annually. We are starting to take referrals from 3 GP Practices initially – Donard in Newcastle, Saintfield Health centre and Shevlin Practice in the Downe Hospital.
How GP surgeries operate is also changing with new plans for Multidisciplinary teams in surgeries starting to take shape. Surgeries , in addition to GPs will have other health professionals including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and social workers and it is expected that Social Prescribing will also form part of the provision open to patients in the future.
These developments create both opportunities and challenges for the Network and the voluntary sector in the area and as we develop and shape plans it is vital that local organisations have a say.
Our first two consultation events identified the key issues involved. A report on each can be accessed below.
As plans develop we will continue to keep members and others updated on developments.