What is the Ways to Wellness service?
Ways to Wellness is a service for people in the west of Newcastle whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions. GPs and their primary care teams use social prescribing to refer patients to the service. Ways to Wellness adds to and complements the medical support that people receive, to help them feel more confident to manage their long-term conditions and make positive lifestyle choices.
The aim of the service is to improve patients’ quality of life and reduce their use of mainstream health services by enabling them to lead healthier lives and better manage their conditions. It will also reduce the cost of meeting their needs, particularly to the Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group (now part of Newcastle Gateshead CCG) and other parts of the National Health Service (NHS).
To achieve this, Ways to Wellness provides patients with a Link Worker to help them to identify and work to overcome their current barriers to managing their long-term conditions. The Link Workers will work with patients to produce an agreed action plan, which may include a range of activities, such as:
- Getting involved in local groups and activities
- Developing positive relationships
- Accessing specialist services and support
- Healthy eating and cooking
- Getting more active
- Getting support around benefits and welfare rights
Social prescribing is not new to the west of Newcastle upon Tyne (or elsewhere) and this project is the culmination of many years of effort to test ways of making it work.
What makes the Ways to Wellness service exceptional is the scale, the degree of integration with the work of general practices and the project’s long term nature. The project will be financed for seven years and will offer social prescribing for up to 3,500 patients at any one time in the west of Newcastle.
Ways to Wellness' Chair Chris Drinkwater and Senior Link Worker Louise Cooke recently took part in a BMJ podcast on Social Prescribing.Read more