A picture of the social prescribing team at Nottingham University Hospitals
jennynorman5 May 12, 2023

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Social Prescribing Partnership scoops national Partnership of the Year award

A social prescribing partnership supporting Nottingham and Nottinghamshire patients, has won the National Association of Link Workers, Link Worker Day 2023 “Social Prescribing Partnership of the Year” Award.

The partnership has developed a social prescribing service in collaboration with NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire which involves link workers working in Nottingham University Hospitals A&E to provide a range of targeted support to patients. For example, helping patients who need support with their mental health by talking through their needs to help with things like self-harm, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Link workers also work with patients who attend A&E frequently by helping them with housing needs and homelessness.

The partnership is the first of its kind in the East Midlands region to have a multi-organisational service to meet the needs of people visiting accident and emergency (A&E) and is based at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, helping to connect patients to a variety of voluntary and community-based services to help avoid repeat A&E visits in the future.

Delivered as an alliance by Framework, Age UK, and Redthread, the partnership has been working closely with A&E colleagues at Nottingham University Hospitals to run the social prescribing service across both adult and children’s emergency departments to support patients from age 11 onwards.

Additional wellbeing support is also provided to some patients by providing holistic care to go alongside any emergency medical needs they have. The service offers a safe space for them to be heard and listened to with empathy and kindness as well as any practical and emotional support that may be needed. For example, link workers talk to patients about things in their lives that could be affecting their health and wellbeing and help to put support plans in place, such as linking patients to community support, activities, or agencies that will positively impact on their health and wellbeing.

Link workers also work with patients to offer practical support including access to food banks and clothing donations in times of crisis.

There is no set eligibility criteria to access the service and clinicians can refer any patient that they feel would benefit from the service or patients can request access to the service themselves.

If required, link workers work with patients to create a plan to support them once they leave the hospital. If patients who attend A&E have existing professional networks in place, they are contacted to alert them of the patient’s attendance at A&E so that they can advocate on the patient’s behalf.

The service also signposts patients to helpful resources to help promote their wellbeing. The service has strong relationships with trusted organisations and community groups and with the patient’s consent, can refer them on to these services as part of a longer-term support plan.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner in the Paediatric Emergency Department, Chris White, said: “It is brilliant that the social prescribing partnership has won this award. Social prescribing can and does make a genuine difference to so many of my patients. All the social prescribers are so knowledgeable and approachable and are always willing to help. I genuinely enjoy working with this team, and I’m not sure how I didn’t see that we needed them before they arrived. They have been a fantastic help and it has meant that so many of my patients have been able to get the holistic care that they need.”

The National Association of Link Workers, Link Workers Day 2023 Awards recognise all those who have made outstanding contributions in transforming healthcare for all through the social prescribing link worker model. More information about the awards can be found here – #LinkWorkerDay23 Awards – National Association of Link Workers (nalw.org.uk)