Social prescribing service launched at Luther St Medical Centre

Social prescribing service launched at Luther St Medical Centre

Luther Street Medical Centre has launched a social prescribing service which will help patients identify what matters to them and assist in achieving those goals.

Luther Street Medical Centre is a GP surgery providing healthcare to people experiencing homelessness in Oxford City. Its doctors and nurses provide the full range of primary care services, including acute and chronic disease management, while the mental health practitioner can provide initial assessments for both primary and secondary care mental health care, and, in many cases, initial psychological treatment.  Social prescribing provides an additional service that will focus on the person’s strengths, interests and goals.

Social prescriber and occupational therapist Elizabeth Bowler says:

“When we get a referral, I will first have a phone call or face-to-face meeting with the person and find out what their interests and goals are. It could be about linking up with a support service or reconnecting with a hobby they used to enjoy or finding a new hobby.”

Mental health practitioner Jac Lawler adds:

“Social prescribing is more than sign-posting; it’s about getting the person there, helping them, walking alongside with them.”

The goals may be to live a healthy and active life, explore the arts, identify support services, assist with housing, benefits and financial support, gain employment or explore training opportunities.

“If a group or activity doesn’t exist, we can help our patients create one, perhaps with the help of our Patient Participating Group which has just re-started after the lockdown,” says Liz.

Liz and Jac acknowledge that for many Luther Street clients, engagement may be challenging because of their circumstances.

“However, our hope is that through social prescribing we can help change that cycle where our clients see themselves not ‘just’ as homeless. We all have different aspects of who we are and what our roles are. Social prescribing can help our clients see themselves differently,” Liz says.

And there is practical assistance, too. The social prescribers, as well as other members of the Luther Street team, can make applications to the Oxford Homeless Medical Fund to help patients with the costs of activities related to improving their health as well as key recovery activities such as money towards hobbies, education, training, or travel costs involved in recovery activities.

Practice Manager Caroline Blanchette said:

“The benefit to patients, and indeed the wider Luther Street Medical Centre team, in having the social prescribing service is proving invaluable.  We are now so much better placed to offer a truly person-centred approach to support the improvement of the health and well-being of our patients.”

Making a referral

You can self-refer to the Social Prescribing Service or be referred by a professional or carer.

Telephone: Call 01865 901571 and ask for the Social Prescriber Service.

Email:  lsmcreception@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk  and ask for the Social Prescriber Service.

Published: 3 September 2021