Social Prescribing – The Way Ahead 14.07.2017

Really good conference, great engaging and relevant speakers. Brilliant facilitator. Refreshing change from most conferences where there are boring speakers.”

On 14th July, 2017 we brought together speakers from health, social care, the police and voluntary sector for the first of three events to explore the potential to develop social prescribing in Kent and Medway. Over 150 individuals attended and some key challenges were identified; these included:

·         Robust evidence to support commissioning decisions

·         Standardised evaluation methodologies

·         Effective and consistent referral mechanism

·         Funding VCSE provision

·         Fostering dynamic and active communities

·         Information Governance and data sharing

·         Integration across and within all sectors; better joint working


Speakers and presentations

Perspectives from health

Cathy Bellman, Strategic Project Manager, Encompass

Encompass Vanguard: Changing The Model Of Care

Cathy has over 34 years’ experience in the NHS as a practising clinician, operational manager and leader; qualifying from the NHS Nye Bevan programme with an award in Executive in Healthcare Leadership. She has experience in change management, business planning, service improvement and coaching for performance.

She is presently working for the Encompass vanguard as a Strategic Project Manager; working with 13 GP medical practices, bringing them together with other Health and Care providers, including Red Zebra for social prescribing.

The second Social Prescribing event, on 29th September 2017 will provide an opportunity to examine these issues in more detail. We will be sending out further information shortly, but save the date.

Dr. Shelagh O’Riordan, Consultant Community Geriatrician

Dr. O’Riordan spoke passionately about her experience as a Consultant Geriatrician at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, and the contrast with her current role as a Consultant Community Geriatrician. Based in the community Dr. O’Riordan works in community hospitals, care homes and in people’s own homes using her skills differently and works much more closely with other organisations and the community.  She explained how the Encompass “CHOC” model enables professionals to talk about people with complex needs and ensures that everyone has an input; with most patients referred to Age UK and to Red Zebra’s social prescribing scheme. Dr. O’Riordan stressed the importance of ensuring that medical interventions are considered in conjunction with social solutions and that these are linked.

Dr. O’Riordan articulated the importance of community involvement, including for people living in care homes alongside the critical need to identify and support Carers.

Jason Tong, Change Manager, NHS England

Social prescribing in England and development update in London

Jason has worked as a researcher, psychologist, public health lead service manager in children with disability and project manager in cardiology. With experience over two decades, he has developed unique expertise in managing organisational and cultural change and in fostering public engagement. In his current role, he leads on policy review on social prescribing and proactive care, exploring how community assets can be harnessed and mobilised to their fullest potential to ensure Londoners can achieve better health and social care outcomes.


Commissioning community resources

Claudia Sykes, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise Kent

Improving lives, supporting communities

Claudia is the CEO of Social Enterprise Kent, a community interest company dedicated to supporting local communities in Kent. Claudia is also the Treasurer of Demelza, a hospice providing palliative care for children. Prior to working at Social Enterprise Kent, Claudia spent 15 years working for Shell, BT and PwC. Claudia is a Chartered Accountant.

Dr Farnaaz Sharief, MBChB, MRCGP, Project Lead Manage Your Mind

Manage your mind, manage your life

Having gained considerable experience in medicine in developing countries, Farnaaz worked in several UK hospital jobs and subsequently settling in general practice, a field that allowed her to work in the community, as a dedicated member of several multi-disciplinary teams.

Farnaaz has a passion for mental health and has worked as a volunteer and project manager with a UK based charity for sixteen years. She set up a free, well-received, local wellbeing programme in Rainham, which has been shown to significantly reduce levels of anxiety and depression amongst those who attend.

Her role as GP Mental Health Lead has allowed Farnaaz to expand her skill in this area, working closely with patients, commissioners and the local mental health service to improve patient pathways and strengthen the working relationship between primary and secondary care.

 Oena Windibank, Chief Officer, Thanet Integrated Accountable Care Organisation (IACO)

Oena explained the critical need to systematically address the needs of the whole population. With an ageing population and workforce alongside fiscal austerity there is a real will to work together effectively. Oena sees social prescribing as a corner stone of current sustainability and transformation plans; addressing social isolation and helping people to make lifestyle choices in order to manage or prevent medical conditions. Oena is clear that social prescribing is not a panacea for all problems, and recognises that things need to be done differently and there is currently more freedom to do this.

Oena challenges the VCSE to work together, systematically to offer systems and processes to improve understanding of what the sector offers and where it responds to need. This needs to be underpinned by robust evidence of impact, enabling the VCSE to operate as an equal voice and embedding the recognition of the value of a prescription for support alongside prescriptions for medication or other health services.


Roy Lawrance (Connect Well, lived experience - video)


Opportunities for collaboration


Supt Tim Cook, Kent Police

Kent Police Tackling vulnerability

Superintendent Tim Cook is the Head of Strategic Partnerships & Communities for Kent Police. He has responsibility for developing and building partnership working between Kent Police and a range of both statutory and non-statutory partners such as KCC, NHS, Kent Fire & Rescue and many others. Included in his portfolio is responsibility for Hate Crime, Community Engagement, Reducing reoffending, Substance misuse, Schools liaison, Organised and Gang Crime.

Superintendent Cook has been a Police Officer for over 23 years and has served in a variety of roles including Local Policing, Tactical Operations and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner.

Emma Hanson, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Kent County Council and Karen Sharp, Head of Commissioning Transformation, Kent County Council

Public Health Model - Community Health and Wellbeing

Emma works for Kent County Council as the Head of Strategic Commissioning.  Her portfolio covers community services for the support of vulnerable adults.   She is Social Worker by training who has worked in Kent for twenty years holding a wide variety of operational, policy and strategic roles.  She currently leads the Council’s approach to building community capacity; central to this strategy is commissioning for outcomes and evidencing impact of investment. Emma has a passion for co-production, community development and has a long history of working to improve the support offered to people in Kent. 

Karen is Head of Commissioning Transformation at KCC.  She began her career in the Voluntary Sector and has subsequently worked in the NHS and at KCC, with a return to the Voluntary Sector in a Kent-based charity, before coming back to KCC. Karen believes in social enterprise and the public , community and private sector collaboration to build individual and community wellbeing and resilience.

Mark Caffrey, Senior Programmes Manager, Spice Time Credits

Spice Time Credits

Spice is a social enterprise that has developed an innovative engagement model called Spice Time Credits. People earn a printed Time Credit for each hour that they give to a service or community organisation. They can then spend this Time Credit in the organisation where they earned it, or across a network of local and national spend partners on experiences or activities. Spice has evolved its model to explore partnership approaches to social prescribing with Time Credits.

Mark is Regional Manager for South East England, responsible for growing new and existing programmes - most recently in Medway and Kent. He also leads on Older People work and evaluation across Spice national programmes.