York’s ground breaking approach to people’s wellbeing, which also saves valuable NHS time

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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York’s ground breaking approach to people’s wellbeing, which also saves valuable NHS time

A successful local health improvement service has seen a significant reduction in GP appointments in York in the last year.

They’ve had over 400 referrals and in their last evaluation 75% of people using Ways to Wellbeing felt more confident and 80% have improved their wellbeing.

And the 30% reduction in GP appointment usage in York is above the national average.

At Social Vision Headquarters we very much like to hear such good news.

So what’s it all about? Bec met Jasmine of Ways to Wellbeing to find out more.

‘Around 25% of patients visit a GP with a social concern; It might be debt, anxiety about their bills, have a housing issue or feeling lonely. These feeling can manifest themselves into feelings of anxiety and depression.

Ways to Wellbeing, a ‘social prescribing’ service set up in the city in 2016, gives an holistic approach to people offering an alternative to the traditional response of putting someone on medication. 

It’s a new flexible way of giving an extra bit of support at a time when someone needs it most. Our Wellbeing practitioners initially offer a full hour for a person’s first appointment, as opposed to the GPs 10 minutes, so that they get they opportunity to really talk without feeling rushed. 

It is all about listening, getting to know a person, having a creative conversation to truly understand a person’s situation. 

And from that offering a supportive framework that works for them. It is all about focusing on a person’s strengths and skills with an aim is to overcome their barriers and establish what will bring them joy. 

Sometimes people want to meet new people, make more friends, others need help sourcing a new cooker or washing machine. Some might need help getting transport to a new group, and have the practitioner as a buddy for the first outing. Others would like to get active. 

No two people are the same and everyone is treated as an individual. Which means no two solutions are the same, it is really about finding what is right for them.’

To us, the scheme sounds brilliant!

Their excellent new video tells the Ways to Wellbeing story so well:

Piloted originally through the Priory Medical Group surgeries in York, Ways to Well Being have now been taken on by The Haxby and York Medical Groups too. Three practitioners cover the city helping more and more people.

There are five steps to Ways to Wellbeing that everyone can benefit from, and they are often done in tandem for the most effective outcome

  • CONNECT
    Connect with other people, feel part of something bigger than just yourself.
  • BE ACTIVE
    This doesn’t mean necessarily joining a gym, how about walking along the river, or going swimming?
  • TAKE NOTICE
    Sometimes we just need to be in the moment, feel present and be aware of our surroundings.
  • KEEP LEARNING
    This is about keeping your brain active, constantly learning something new and using your skills.
  • GIVE
    It could be as simple as giving a stranger a smile or volunteering for your local community group.

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