The overall aim of this advisory group is to increase knowledge of self-management (sets of approaches that aim to enable people living with long-term conditions to take control and manage their own health) and social prescribing (a mechanism for linking patients with non-medical sources of support within the community) opportunities available to the people of Scotland. In order to do this, the group aims to:
- Improve awareness of what social prescribing is and what is already available
- Promote policy and practice that is informed by evidence and intelligence
- Promote equality of access to social prescribing opportunities
- Maximise connectors and channels of referral
- Improve data management monitoring and evaluation
- Enhance capacity and capability for social prescribing for mental health
The advisory group was started in April 2014 and is made up of a variety of expertise from policy, practice (healthcare and the third sector) and research. Under the umbrella of the advisory group there are currently four sub-groups that will each focus on a different element of the process of improving the knowledge and use of self-management and social prescribing. These sub-groups are:
- Data, Monitoring & Evaluation – link with Joint Improvement Team, Equally Well & GPs at the Deep End, with the aim to improve data management monitoring and evaluation
- Knowledge Into Action – link with GPs at the Deep End, Keep Well & Equally Well, with the aim to improve awareness of what social prescribing is and what is in place and to keep policy & practice informed by evidence & intelligence.
- Capacity Building – link with Royal College of General Practitioners, with the aim to enhance capacity for social prescribing for mental health and to improve links between primary care and relevant stakeholders
- Equality/Access – link with Alliance & Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, with aim to maximise connectors and channels of referral and to ensure equal access to social prescribing opportunities.
While also being members of the advisory group, Tony Robertson and Ruth Jepson are active members of the ’Capacity Building’ sub-group. The advisory group is due to finish its initial work by March 2015 with a definitions paper outlining an overarching set of definitions reflective of current practice, as well as map (and continue to build on mapping of) current social prescribing for mental health activity. In addition, the sub-groups are expected to feed into the production of a web portal/reports/organise events/develop networks linked to their specific remit.