"The work that Marie and her team did in supporting the evaluation of the Social Prescribing Service was incredibly impactful in terms of critically appraising the service development and the impact on people using it. The evaluation resulted in commitment to the model from the Shropshire Health and Wellbeing Board, as well as from local GPs and subsequently Primary Care Networks. As a local team we considered a wide range of measures within the service and were appreciative of the advice from the research team to use include MYCaW. This was well received by the clients using the service and the Social Prescribing Advisors implementing it because of its simplicity, ease of follow up but also the quality of the information it provided.Jo Robins, Consultant in Public Health, Shropshire Public Health.
We've been able to use it to see real changes in people's progress as it is based on individual need. Local GPs making referrals welcome the feedback about individuals they've referred."
What we did: Dr Marie Polley and Dr Helen Seers worked with a wider team to support Shropshire Council to implement and evaluate a social prescribing demonstrator site. The aim was to develop a robust social prescribing service using only existing resources in the council, and to integrate this service into existing systems in Shropshire Council and local GP practices. We used MYCaW as a central measure to understand what people's unmet needs were and combined this with several other outcomes, measures and patient interviews. We also designed a case-matched control group to further analyse health service usage data.
Outcome: We employed a mixed-methods analysis approach which enabled us to provide important statistical analysis of outcomes and health services usage data, which was corroborated with the analysis of service users' experiences. In combination, these data sources demonstrated the value of the social prescribing service in the local area, statistically significant improvements in MYCaW scores, loneliness, and patient activation. We also demonstrated why people valued the service and what underpinned the changes in outcome measures. This evaluation data led to one stakeholder report and a peer reviewed research paper as well as several conference presentations.
How the organisation benefitted: The initial work supported the social prescribing service to continue to be commissioned. It is now going from strength to strength. The outputs raised the profile of the service and the data and mixed-methods approach has encouraged clinicians and other stakeholders to really support the social prescribing service.