Social Prescribing Service

Residents who may be feeling lonely, isolated, experiencing high anxiety or depression and who have been referred via their GP or Health Professional can receive the support of the East Herts Social Prescribing Service (EHSPS).
The aim of the service is to keep our East Herts residents physically and mentally well.

The Social Prescribing Service (EHSPS) is actively working with other organisations to provide a variety of useful support for people with social, emotional or practical needs that can be helped by non-clinical services.

Our Community Enablement Officer will make contact with referred residents to discuss and jointly agree a range of options and resulting actions that may help. This could include signposting referrals to appropriate local community groups who can offer a wide range of socially engaging activities. Where possible, help with transport to or from a venue may be arranged. Around 10-12 weeks later a 'follow-up' appointment is made to see if any further support can be offered.

As of October 2020, our EHSPS has had over 600 referrals, offering support to vulnerable, anxious, depressed and or isolated residents who have been referred to our service by health professionals.

When the Covid-19 Government ‘lockdown’ was announced in March 2020, the EHSPS commenced a thorough review of all the GP and health professionals past referrals and undertook pro-active telephone 'welfare checks'. Our aim was to ensure that none of these vulnerable residents had fallen under the radar of the NHS or other support agencies. It was better that they received more than one supportive call than none at all. With the assistance of department colleagues we quickly achieved our target of checking on over 500 referred residents.

We identified 33 vulnerable residents that needed immediate help and support. It is thought that these vulnerable residents had not been contacted by the NHS or other support agencies. 26 residents were referred to local action groups to provide extra support with shopping, collections of prescriptions, and befriending services. Three others were sent to the NHS ‘Prevention on Admission’ Team, one to HCC Adult Social Care; one to the Hertfordshire County Council Education Department, and two others passed on to our Housing Department colleagues.

The EHSPS has continued to accept new referrals and maintain professional relationships with GPs, surgeries and various other NHS support staff. For example; district Nurses, physiotherapists, falls prevention teams, community psychiatric nurses and other members of the Integrated Care Team at Herts and Essex Hospital.

We have been developing various Social Prescribing type support 'drop-in' sessions in our Healthy Hubs East Herts at the Hertford and Bishops Stortford Council Offices. We also recognise that our EHSPS support should not be restricted just to older people. For example we recognise that younger people can suffer from depression and isolation, sometimes brought on by less social friendship connections and increased time spent on media platforms where social contact is more virtual and can lack meaningful support.

For more information, please see our East Herts Social Prescribing Service Leaflet [1MB] and the The East Herts Social Prescribing Service