Accessible, easy to understand information is crucial to solve the problems that so many people face. Problems that people often go to the GP with that don’t require a medical solution, such as insecure housing, debt, benefits, employment issues, family issues and domestic violence. As a social prescribing link worker, where can you go to access the kind of information you need to help?
I’d suggest you go straight to Advicenow, a website that handpicks the best information and guidance on the web about issues such as these so you can find it all in one place.
I’m Chair of the charity, Law for Life, that runs Advicenow. Our aim is to make it easy for you to find what you need as quickly as possible and to give you practical advice, tips, tools and detailed guides to help resolve problems.
You will find resources on many of the topics that people raise when they are struggling and seek help from the doctor and then from you as a link worker. The website is constantly updated and links to wider resources so it can help you signpost people. We aim to build knowledge, skills and confidence for our users. This may sound familiar to you as these are the same aims as NHS England has for supported self-management. So you will know already how well that can work, just as we know from our user feedback.
We know that nearly half our users have a disability and nearly half are on low incomes. We know that more than a quarter of our users are supporting a family member, friend or client whom they are helping in a professional or volunteer capacity. In other words – people like you.
I can see from a blog on the National Association of Link Workers site that you are already tackling these problems amid wider issues of health and wellbeing: “Helping a mother find accommodation, helping a lady lose weight, helping a COPD patient contact the council for house repairs, helping a gentleman get his universal credit back……”
We want to help you tackle these problems with expert resources at your fingertips. Here are some links to some common issues:
Many of you as link workers will already have expertise in these areas but we have your back with up-to-date resources that can really help you. We know that welfare benefits advisors use our PIP Tool because it speeds up their work and helps their clients understand how they can challenge a PIP assessment. Even experts need a bit of back-up sometimes and that’s what we would like to do for you.
Amanda Finlay CBE is Chair of Law for Life which runs the Advicenow website.