The social prescribing service The VCS Hub at VAST, is available throughout North Staffs – in Stoke on Trent, Newcastle under Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands and is a CCG commissioned service.
Social prescribing is about expanding the range of options available to individuals as they grapple with a problem and about removing barriers which stop people from accessing support. Where that problem is non-medical, it is easy for both patient and GP not to have the time or knowledge to address the issue. The VCS Hub was set up to help and support individuals to be able to access appropriate help. It is registered onto the national Social Prescribing Network and is part of the Regional Social Prescribing Network and Steering Group.
The VCS Hub is also part of the Care Navigation pathway within GP practices across North Staffordshire. Following a face to face meeting with a patient at one of these practices the following comment was posted to NHS Choices website:
More than Just a doctors
‘The Clinic had a representative from VAST each Thursday Morning. Patients can get advice on a wide range of problems that can impact on your health.
I recently visited the clinic and spoke to the VAST representative about getting some help caring for my wife. I was pointed in the right direction and as a result it looks like I am entitled to help.
Fantastic idea I am sure it would have become a problem that would have affected my health before too long.
Thank you, Talke Clinic for continuing to go the extra mile for patient’.
How Can People access the Service
Individuals aged 18+ can be referred by their GP practice, by a health or social care professional.
What happens after referral
Individuals referred onto the service are contacted by telephone and a discussion takes place about their situation and their support needs. If they require a face to face visit that can be arranged.
When their need is fully understood a range of options is outlined to the individual – which will, in the majority of cases, result in the VCS Hub making a referral for them to an appropriate support organisation. Follow up calls are made to all parties to ensure the service has been accessed or to provide further support if required. Often people wish to have information about services local to them – or they may need specialist information – the VCS Hub’s role is to ensure up to date information is available. For those with more complex needs, or where a telephone discussion is not suitable, the VCS Hub will arrange a joint visit to outline what is available and to gain consent to make the onward referral on their behalf.