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NHS and tech company join forces to help people connect in local communities

By 5th March 2021 March 20th, 2021 No Comments

A unique partnership to make it easier for people to access a range of non-medical support in their own communities is being set up in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).

Community services, GPs, Voluntary Sector organisations and award-winning tech company, Elemental, are teaming up to deliver an innovative new way of prescribing, known as social prescribing.

 Sirona care & health, provider of adult and children’s community services across BNSSG, local GP surgeries, the BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), One Care (the local GP federation) and Elemental are working together with the aim to connect communities and empower individuals.

Julie Sharma, Sirona’s Director of Transformation, said: “Our vision is about helping to create happier and healthier communities and part of this is making it easier for people to access a whole range of support  and the best way to do this is to work with individuals and our partners to ensure a joined-up approach.

“People have told us that often non-clinical support can really help improve their quality of life and their health and wellbeing but they don’t always know where to go for this assistance. Our community teams, GPs and organisations within the voluntary sector know exactly what is available in each area and this system will help to bring it together for those in our care and our communities.

“It means a GP can connect an individual to activities close to their home which will enable them to improve their wellbeing in a way which suits them; this could be by linking them to a walking group, advice on healthy eating or a support group for a specific condition.”

Jennifer Neff, CEO and Co-Founder of Elemental Software added: “Our purpose is to empower and enable individuals, families and their carers to better connect into community programmes, services and interventions that make a positive impact on their lives.

“We are really excited to work with Sirona, GP colleagues and the Voluntary Sector to introduce digital social prescribing across BNSSG using software which is already used by GP practices and will evaluate the success for an individual. It will also help reduce pressures by reducing the need for people to attend routine advisory appointments.”

Mary Backhouse is a GP in North Somerset and Clinical Lead at the CCG’s Building Heathier Communities Programme. The programme is made up of organisations from care, health and voluntary/community sectors supporting integrated personalised care across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

She said: “Social Prescribing is a key aspect of the vision set out in the NHS Long Term Plan which highlights the vital role that primary, community and voluntary support plays in supporting people to stay well, closer to home.

“This exciting new partnership means that the Elemental social prescribing platform will be available to all GP Practices within BNSSG and the roll-out is due to start after Easter.”