Towards More than Medicine
Across all sites in the BHF House of Care programme, momentum is now picking up towards adopting the More than Medicine approach, especially where supported by established and expanding House of Care practices.
More than Medicine is a key component of the House’s foundation. This concept is about practices improving their awareness of local community assets and linking people with these. Practices can plan how to use information from care and support planning conversations to influence commissioning of these assets.
Sites reported that the social prescribing aspect of the House has been slower to emerge as it has first required building trust in the approach among healthcare professionals and then expanding knowledge of support services in the community.1,2
However, practice nurses are now referring people to these services more frequently in some sites.3 In one practice, where services didn’t exist to meet the needs of people with LTCs, staff took the initiative themselves (see Embodying the More than Medicine approach, below).4
Embodying the More than Medicine approach
Staff at the Crail Medical Practice in Glasgow were concerned about people who were overweight and had high blood pressure and diabetes. They felt there was no provision in the local community to support these people to manage and meet their own goals.
Thanks to new thinking “driven by the House of Care programme”, the practice started a weekly walking group.It’s been highly successful: people enjoy the social aspect of meeting up and have created friendships. Several have lost weight and improved their blood pressure.
The practice team were NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Chairman’s Awards gold winner in the Improving Health Category and also won the BHF Alliance Team of the Year 2018 award for this work.
Internal audit results report greater awareness of social prescribing among healthcare professionals in the programme.3 In Scotland, this was the Links Worker approach. In Gateshead, when other activities and services were discussed within the care and support planning conversation, 89% of people found these ‘very useful’ or ‘somewhat useful’.5 Many healthcare professionals felt social prescribing helped to reduce social isolation, improved support for psychological needs and better met the needs of harder-to-reach groups.6
The independent evaluation report recommended that the BHF, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and Year of Care Partnerships are well placed to continue supporting the More than Medicine element of this programme.7 This should build on progress made and develop the wider case for change and further understanding around the role of wider determinants of health and supported self-management.
Next: A supportive landscape
1 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, page 32
2 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, page 84
3 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, page 34
4 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, page 38
5 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, Annex 3, page 23
6 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, page 33
7 ICF Consulting Ltd, 2018. House of Care Evaluation: Final Report, page 90