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PCNs given six months to deliver targeted social prescribing programme


mental health evidence


PCNs have been given six months to design, agree and put in place a targeted programme to improve access to social prescribing, NHS England has confirmed.

The new Network DES, released today, says that PCNs must agree by 30 September a plan with clinical leaders, voluntary sector partners and local authority commissioners to ‘proactively offer’ the services to an identified cohort with unmet needs.

That plan ‘must take into account views of people with lived experience’, as part of a broader social prescribing service, it said.

As part of the update to the personalised care service specification, PCNs will be expected to start delivering the service the following day (1 October).

Dr Saul Kaufman, clinical director at St Johns Wood and Maida Vale PCN, said: ‘Social prescribing has a huge benefit in terms of an individual’s health outcomes, and getting the voluntary sector involved is absolutely the way forward.

‘But the DES doesn’t mention that funding will need to go into the sector. For social prescribing to work in the community, you need an adequately resourced voluntary sector.’

NHS England also instructed PCNs to ‘audit a sample of the PCN’s patients’ current experiences of shared decision making’ and take note of any improvements they might implement as a result.

It comes a month after NHS England announced it had delayed the implementation deadline for several aspects of the spec by 12 months, granting PCNs until March 2024 to implement digitally enabled personalised care and support planning for care home residents.

NHS England had also confirmed in the same announcement that PCNs would have an extra three months to develop their anticipatory care plans.

Meanwhile, today’s new Network DES also revealed that PCNs will be able to deploy twice as many adult mental health practitioners.

It also confirmed that a GP will be required to cover all enhanced access shifts offered by PCNs.

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READERS' COMMENTS [3]

Patrufini Duffy 1 April, 2022 4:31 pm

Does Pulse have the current sign up / opt out figures for this PCN des thingy?

Turn out The Lights 1 April, 2022 5:43 pm

As the funding for PCNs is homeopathic doomed to fail.The sooner the better

Finola ONeill 3 April, 2022 10:26 pm

IN Devon Our social prescriber/wellbeing (not sure the difference; don’t understand any of these non roles) is outsourced to a private London company called Thrive Tribe. Their clinics are almost entirely empty. They have done nothing useful I have seen apart from occasionally tasking us back some nonsense like have you thought about an antidepressant? I genuinely think they are the most stupid idea ever. If there are community services the patients either know about them or we can quickly signpost them. Mostly our community services have been decimated so there is no-one and nowhere to refer them and the social prescribers are a chocolate teapot. Nearly as good as the recent paper recommending prescribing gardening or cooking instead of antidepressants. I’m on sertraline and if my GP, when I was feeling really low, had tried that I would have possible lobbed a gardening implement at them.