PATIENTS in the Llanelli area have been taking part in an innovative scheme which allows primary care professionals to ‘prescribe’ non-clinical treatments.
Social prescribing is when primary care professionals refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local and non-clinical services such as group therapy, physical exercise, wellbeing practices and community activities.
Social Prescribers Tracey Roberts Jones and Andrew Pompa work across six surgeries, offering support to patients through one-to-one and group sessions.
Tracey and Andrew have been talking about the service they offer in a new video developed by Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Tracey, a qualified nurse and life coach, describes her work as “helping people to get back into the saddle of life.”
Tracey explains: “Social Prescribing has added a new and much needed dimension to the way people can access meaningful routes to improving their health and wellbeing.
“The service focuses on an individual’s skills and abilities with the aim of building self-confidence, empowering them to potentially become a resource for the local community.”
Andrew, who has a background in community development and behaviour, added: “Patients who have been seen by the social prescribing service have gone on to access a diverse range of support services such as counselling, coaching, mental health and emotional wellbeing support, and housing and employment information.
“Patients have also been able to get involved in a wide range of physical and social activities such as art and music therapy, yoga, dance, volunteering opportunities, swimming, walking, photography, art and crafts and healthy eating sessions.”
Victoria, who has anxiety and depression, was referred to the service by her practice nurse: “After a few sessions with Andrew, he suggested that I also attend the group sessions once a week which I have found to be really helpful.
“Being with others who understand what I’m feeling and going through has been beneficial to my healing.
“I’ve found the coaching and self-help techniques that I’ve learnt have helped me to support others. “Andrew and Tracy make the sessions accessible and are a life line to the many people they have given hope to.”
To find out more about social prescribing, visit here or see the health board’s Facebook page.