As a first for Guernsey, the scheme works to link people with non-medical support through various activities, advice and counselling and more than 60 charities have joined as partners on the scheme’s initiative.
‘The first six months of the scheme have been very busy for our professionally-trained link workers, Trish and Candace, who spend time listening to people and finding out what matters to them in their lives in terms of work, home, money, skills, friends, family and how socially connected they are,’ said BSP lead Melissa Mitchell.
IslandHealth has been referring patients to the scheme since July, and the Healthcare Group joined in November.
‘Since GPs are experts at identifying needs, it’s a been a really good place for us to start and it’s working really well.
‘We’ve had some fantastic feedback from the doctors we’re working with on the quality of the scheme and how it gives them another option to offer their patients, it’s a different kind of prescription to deal with non-medical issues which can negatively impact people’s health.’
In response to high demand, a third link worker will join the team in February.
‘The expansion of the scheme to a second GP practice means that we need to make more sessions available to people. We also have plans to expand the ways people can access our scheme other than through their GP,’ said Mrs Mitchell.
People can already access a link worker by referring themselves to the free Healthy Minds service, now based in Cornet Street, which offers short-term therapeutic interventions for adults aged over 17 who have mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
Plans are also in place to expand on ways that islanders can access the scheme and develop social prescribing activities.
‘We’ll do this by listening to people, and by using evidence we have around the community’s needs and preferences for resources and activities that may improve their health and wellbeing. This is a long term initiative, the best things take time,’ she said.
. More information on how to access the service can be found at www.bsp.org.gg.