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Conference to discuss benefits of social prescribing

By Mindo - 01st Mar 2018 | 37 views

<p class=”p1″>GPs at the Deep End Ireland are hosting a confer<span class=”s4″>ence in the RCSI on Saturday, 10 March, which is titled ‘General Practice in Dis</span>advantaged Areas: Role of Linkwork- ers and Social Pre<span class=”s4″>scribing’.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>Social prescribing is a way of enabling </span><span class=”s3″>GPs, nurses and oth- </span><span class=”s4″>er primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. It is viewed by many experts as a very effective tool for GPs, especially those working in areas of disadvantage.</span>

<p class=”p2″>Prof Susan Smith, Associate Professor in the Depart<span class=”s4″>ment of General Practice at the RCSI, told the <strong><em>Medical In- </em></strong></span><strong><em>dependent </em></strong>(<strong><em>MI</em></strong>) that conference attendees will also hear first-hand experience of how social prescribing has worked <span class=”s4″>in pilot studies in a limited number of areas in Ireland, while Scottish speakers will also outline the experience in the NHS.</span>

<p class=”p2″>“There are examples of projects that have started up in <span class=”s4″>Dublin but it hasn’t been adopted as a mainstream policy,” Prof Smith told <strong><em>MI</em></strong>.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>“So there are GPs who are not working in those areas and </span>who are just interested to see and learn about it, because <span class=”s4″>they think it might well be something that is very useful for </span>patients living in disadvantaged areas, because these pa<span class=”s4″>tients often have a mixture of medical and social problems </span>and they obviously have much poorer health outcomes. It is a way of helping people manage their different medical <span class=”s4″>needs using different community and social supports, rather than always trying to find a medication or a prescription as a solution.”</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>Prof Smith is hopeful that this is something the HSE and policy-makers will take more interest in.</span>

<p class=”p2″>“We would like to get the debate going, because it is an <span class=”s4″>effective way of treating people and improving health outcomes,” she said.</span>

<p class=”p2″>The GPs at the Deep End Ireland group has argued in recent months that the ongoing GP contract negotiations <span class=”s4″>should take deprivation into account, with more resources put into areas of higher deprivation.</span>

<p class=”p2″>“But one of the ways that the Government and the De- partment of Health could address that is having a policy of putting social prescribing support in those areas,” said <span class=”s4″>Prof Smith.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>Full details of the conference can be found at </span><span class=”s5″>www.deep- end.ie</span><span class=”s4″>.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s3″>Meanwhile, in advance of International Women’s Day this </span><span class=”s4″>Thursday, 8 March, the Women in Medicine in Ireland Network (WIMIN) has announced details of its inaugural national meeting.</span>

<p class=”p2″>The first national WIMIN meeting will be held in the <span class=”s4″>Marker Hotel in Dublin on Saturday, 22 September.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>“Speakers are not formally confirmed yet but we will have a mix of GPs, consultants and students giving their thoughts on their experiences in medicine in Ireland. There will also be representation from HSE management,” WIMIN founder Dr Sarah Fitzgibbon said.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>She confirmed to <strong><em>MI </em></strong>that the new network “is progressing well, with 255 members and counting”.</span>

<p class=”p2″>The Cork GP said the network has partnered with the <span class=”s4″>providers of the National GP Forum app to develop a separate online forum for WIMIN, “which hopefully will provide a platform for women across all specialties to share their experiences and support each other”.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s4″>Dr Fitzgibbon will be attending the spring conference of the Medical Women’s Federation in Cardiff, Wales, in May, where she hopes “to learn a lot about what a national medical women’s network should be doing”.</span>

<p class=”p2″>She encouraged any women in medicine in Ireland, including medical students, NCHDs, GPs, consultants, doc<span class=”s4″>tors in research or academia, and retired doctors, interested in joining WIMIN to log on to </span><span class=”s5″>www.wimin.ie</span><span class=”s4″>.</span>

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