New digital tool to support community health launches in Salford

Categories: School of Health and Society

The University of Salford has launched a new digital tool to help healthcare professionals identify ways to support people’s health and wellbeing in the community.

The social prescribing team at the University of Salford

Working with industry partner Elemental, the UK’s largest digital social prescribing provider, staff at the university’s Salford Social Prescribing Hub (pictured - from left to right: Michelle Howarth, Cormac Lawler, Rachel Martin, Sarah Bodell and Andrea Gibbons) have developed the assessment and planning tool to support the social prescribing process and improve patient outcomes.

Social prescribing - sometimes called community referral - is when GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals refer people to local, non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing. This might include things like volunteering, arts activities, gardening, cookery, healthy eating, and a range of sports.

The new digital social prescribing assessment and planning tool helps healthcare professionals to identify what support is going to be most meaningful and useful to the person, and to work with them to decide on the best plan of support. 

Dr Cormac Lawler, research fellow at the University of Salford and part of the team who developed the new tool, said: “We want to ensure that the social prescribing process and outcome are based on what the person wants, feels and values - for it to be meaningful for them. This tool will help health care professionals to do that in a structured way, based in theory and good social prescribing practice. We hope the tool can also be used by other similar professional roles – for instance, we've been working with the local Job Centre Plus as well as the North West Ambulance Service to see how they can integrate it into their work with service users.”

The tool will be first used by the Wellbeing Matters programme in Salford, integrated into its Elemental dashboard. It will also be available on the Elemental platform for any other organisations or services that wish to use it to support their work.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.