A new service has been introduced at a Lowestoft health centre to help improve patients’ wellbeing by addressing social concerns as well as dealing with their medical needs.
East Coast Community Healthcare, working in partnership with Waveney District Council, Lowestoft Rising, Suffolk Police, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, has launched a ‘social prescribing’ service at Kirkley Mill Health Centre in Clifton Road. The service, called Solutions, aims to signpost patients who need non-medical support such as carer respite, dementia support, housing help, debt management and benefits advice to the appropriate organisation.
A launch event was held on Thursday 22 June at Kirkley Mill and was attended by patients, health centre staff, local community groups and representatives from the partner organisations, as well as Waveney MP Peter Aldous.
Cllr Mary Rudd, Waveney District Council’s cabinet member for Community Health said:
“This new service will help those people who are struggling with issues which are not medical but can still significantly impact on their daily lives. The service will also help those who are feeling socially isolated and vulnerable by introducing them to a range of community groups who may be able to help.”
ECCH Director for Quality and Primary Care Dr Noreen Cushen-Brewster said:
“It’s about more than medicine. Often if you’re just treating medical conditions you’re not getting to the root of the problem. A person may be very lonely or suffering financial problems. This is a way of linking our patients with sources of support that can operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and well-being.”
Patients can access the Solutions service by speaking to a health professional at their next appointment or by asking at reception for a self-referral.
Emily Coles, advisor at North East Suffolk CAB said:
“Once referred to Solutions, patients will receive an initial 45 minute assessment to discuss their needs. We will then determine what support is required and put a suitable care package into place moving forwards.”