When you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to get help, you may think you need to see your doctor when in fact the best person to help you could be a social prescribing link worker.

A range of health and wellbeing professionals are being added to general practice teams as part of a programme to expand the NHS workforce—some work at your doctor’s surgery and others work in the wider community to help you get the most appropriate care when you need it.

One of the newer roles in the GP team is the social prescribing link worker (SPLW), sometimes referred to as a social prescriber—they are available to everyone.

This approach is part of the plan NHS England is implementing to prioritise people’s health and wellbeing while improving access to primary care services. They recently launched a new public campaign to explain the changes taking place that will improve the way people access and receive care from general practice.

The first phase of the campaign explains some of the roles of different health and care staff in general practice teams.

Dr Faisel Baig, GP & Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England – North East and Yorkshire said: As record numbers of people are seeking support from their GP practice, the NHS is improving its services by expanding the workforce to meet the demand.

“Having more direct patient care staff like social prescribers means patients can access appropriate specialist support without needing to see a GP first.”

Accessing a social prescriber

Accessing a social prescriber is easy. You can self-refer by asking at your doctor’s surgery or you can be referred by others in the health and social care community.

Go to the NHS England web page for social prescribers or search NHS social prescribers on the internet to learn more. To find out more about other GP team roles, search meet your GP team on the internet.

In Leeds, we also have a community social prescribing service called Linking Leeds. You can find out more about this service in one of our previous blogs. Or contact Linking Leeds directly by calling 0113 336 7612 or emailing linking.leeds@nhs.net, contact them via their website or complete a referral form.