A better Medway
Published: Friday, 15th March 2019

Medway Council is working with Simply Connect and Medway Voluntary Action to deliver a social prescribing service in Medway to support residents to live healthier, happier lives.

Social prescribing is a way of linking primary care patients with support in the community. It provides doctors with a non-medical referral option which can be used alongside treatments to improve health and wellbeing.

The partnership involves representatives from CCG, NHS, the voluntary and community sector and is being led by Public Health Medway. Voluntary sector partners include Medway Voluntary Action, Carers First, Healthwatch Kent, Kent Association for the Blind, Imago and Medway Citizens Advice.

Simply Connect have been chosen as a strategic partner to help deliver this project, working with Medway Voluntary Action and Public Health Medway to develop one gateway into all community services in Medway, via our Connect Well platform. Connect Well Medway will support cross referrals into community services from NHS, adult social care, and the voluntary sector to support individuals who are isolated, vulnerable or have long-term physical and mental health conditions.

Improving the health and wellbeing of our residents

Scott Elliott, Medway Council’s Head of Health and Wellbeing, said: “This new system is an excellent opportunity for local organisations to raise the profile of its services and link residents to services it needs. This step forward aligns perfectly with the council and CCGs plans to create a comprehensive social prescribing system for Medway.

“Social prescribing is a fantastic vehicle to improve the health and wellbeing levels of residents, and we have a number of exciting projects already taking place, and new ones planned for 2019. Voluntary and community sector partners are essential to our success, and we are currently pulling together a formal social prescribing plan so that people can read for themselves our vision for Medway.

“Through this vision we want to make social prescribing services accessible to everyone across Medway, using one gateway in and referral platform. Link Workers from across sectors will be able to refer clients through and we want to encourage members of the public to self-refer too.”

Medway Council’s public health team are very keen to ensure the Connect Well Medway service meets the needs of the people it is there to support. Therefore Simply Connect are working closely with the council and Medway Voluntary Action to design a client feedback portal for all service users to help inform the public to decide whether the service would be suitable for them.

Real feedback from service users will also help to provide GPs, Link Workers and other healthcare professionals with the reassurance that they are referring into quality assured services.

This will help to raise awareness to the general public of what social prescribing is and how it can make a difference and change people’s lives.

This new service sees the further expansion of Simply Connect’s coverage across the South East in supporting the delivery of social prescribing services via their established social prescribing framework and platform.

More joined up working across Kent and Medway

Sirinda Bhandal, Founder and Managing Director of Simply Connect, said: “We’re thrilled to be chosen by Medway Council and Medway Voluntary Action to work on this project, bringing our experience of supporting the implementation of social prescribing projects across the country.

“Co-production is at the heart of what we do and this provides a great opportunity to involve stakeholders from across sectors to help shape how social prescribing is delivered in Medway. We are now working with a number of partners across Kent and Medway on the prevention agenda. This new partnership will pave the way for more joined up working across the whole STP (Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) area in Kent and Medway, which brings together NHS, CCG’s and Local authorities to develop plans to transform health and care services.

“Medway Voluntary Action – who are experts in the local voluntary sector – are also working with us to ensure that the wider voluntary sector is engaged, embedded, and most importantly supported in this social prescribing model. They will also take on the role as host organisation for the Connect Well Medway platform.

“Medway Council have ambitious plans for their future social prescribing model, and we’re delighted to be working with them as part of this strategic partnership to help them achieve this.”

Real opportunity to bring the voluntary and community sector closer together

Jane Howard, CEO for Medway Voluntary Action, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating on this project as we see this work as a real opportunity to bring the voluntary and community sector closer together, benefiting organisations and beneficiaries alike.

“It is also great to be working closely with Medway Council, the Public Health team and other voluntary sector partners in a joint and cohesive way to improve services for people living in Medway. For the first time, Medway will have the opportunity to effectively promote the services our sector delivers – a very exciting prospect for us as the infrastructure organisation who works to support the sector in Medway.”

The Connect Well Medway service will launch in April 2019.


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