The latest meeting of the Surrey Heartlands Stakeholder Reference Group saw lively and thoughtful discussion around the evening’s two main topics – understanding how social prescribing works across Surrey Heartlands and hearing more about our digital priorities.
Surrey’s Deputy Director of Public Health Ruth Hutchinson and Charlotte Pavitt, Darzi Fellow and Public Health Registrar, explained the concept of Social Prescribing and how it is being delivered in Surrey Heartlands.
Social prescribing is a mechanism for linking patients with non-medical sources of support within the community. The audience heard that Surrey Heartlands’ ambition for Social Prescribing is to design and implement a social prescribing system at scale for the population of Surrey, providing GPs and the wider health and social care workforce with a non-medical referral option that will operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing. Then they were asked to comment and debate the plan.
There was both a welcome and an element of concern around some aspects of the proposal. For example, some questioned the expertise and training of those link workers who match service users with non-medical referral options. Others, particularly after hearing several positive case studies, wanted to see the service expanded across Surrey Heartlands.
The central theme of the stakeholder group’s review of our digital priorities, presented by Kat Stolworthy, Surrey Heartlands Associate Director for Digital Transformation, was the intention to create a Patient Portal to allow patients and the public to view their medical and, eventually, social care records once they are included in a care record sharing scheme called Surrey Care Record which is scheduled for later this year.
A comprehensive programme of GP and public communications engagement will precede the Surrey Care Record launch and the Patient Portal will provide a gateway for people to view and interact with their records.
Questions were raised around security, consent and other key issues. Overall there was a cautious welcome and recognition of the national leadership of Surrey Heartlands in this and other fields.
Both sets of presenters took away written questions and notes from the stakeholder audience to help with further planning.