New health and care service for adults

A new health and care service to help people struggling with issues such as loneliness, unemployment and housing is now available for Waltham Forest residents.

The social prescribing service aims to support people who go to their GP, local pharmacist, other healthcare or adult social care professional and are found to need help for non-medical problems that affect their health and wellbeing – for example social isolation, unemployment or problems with their living conditions.

With agreement, the GP, or the health or social care professional will refer people to the social prescribing team, who will call them to discuss their needs, experiences and what they might like help with.

A package of referrals, mostly to local charity groups – perhaps a befriending scheme, benefits advice or employability training – will then be put together and the resident supported to access the help available.

The new service, which will run as a pilot for 18 months initially, is a joint initiative set up by Waltham Forest Council and Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – and is part of the Waltham Forest Better Care Together Programme.

The social prescribing service is being run by the Council’s adult social care team, supported by the public health team, and is jointly funded by the Council and NHS Waltham Forest CCG.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Waltham Forest’s new social prescribing service is a really innovative and exciting new approach to helping meet residents’ needs.

“By working in partnership across the Council, with NHS Waltham Forest CCG, other local health professionals, and with our local voluntary and community organisations, we believe this service will help ensure more residents get access to the kind of support services they need to be able to enjoy a good quality life.”

Dr Anwar Khan, Chair of NHS Waltham Forest CCG, welcomed the new service on behalf of GPs in Waltham Forest.

Dr Khan said: “This gives GPs one referral point, where a resident can get help with non-medical issues and get the support that they need.”

Cllr Angie Bean, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “Our social prescribing service promises to play a really important role in helping the Council and its healthcare partners reach more vulnerable, older people in need of support.”

Find out about support services available to you by visiting www.walthamforest.gov.uk