Wellbeing Team

Who are the Wellbeing Team?

The Wellbeing Team are here to support people with many things that effect our Health and Wellbeing. GP’s often have patients visit them who are feeling stressed, socially isolated, lonely, have financial issues, housing difficulties, living with a long-term health condition, or are experiencing another form of social problem. In fact, 1 in 4 GP appointments are used by patients to discuss such matters and these people could all be supported by the Wellbeing team, freeing up time for the GP’s to see more patients with health conditions. People that utilise the services of the Wellbeing Team and have a ‘Social Prescription’ have been found to require 28% fewer GP appointments, and are supported well by these practitioners.

The Wellbeing team is made up of various trained and skilled practitioners in various roles. There are Social Prescribing Link Workers often known as Social Prescribers, a Care Coordinator, Carers Lead, Health and Wellbeing Coach, and a Mental Health Gateway worker and the team is growing all the time! We have all come from backgrounds bringing various qualifications, skills, experience, and knowledge with us and are here to support you!


What does a Social Prescribing Link Worker do?

In the first instance a Social Prescriber is here to listen to you! We need to know what matters to you and how we can best support you to reach your goal. The Social Prescriber will have that conversation with you and put you in touch with the people and activities that might help you to feel better and meet your goal or overcome your difficulty. Your Social Prescriber might introduce you to a community group, a new activity or a local club if you feel this is something that might be right for you. We can also support you by linking you with benefits advice or debt counselling or organising an appointment at the surgery for you with the Citizens Advice Bureau. Your Social Prescriber can help you find information and guidance: a bit of inside knowledge on your situation or what local resources available to you, sometimes liaising with them to ensure you reach your goal. We are involved with all sorts of voluntary and community services and can refer or signpost you to many options that will meet your needs. If we cannot find a service to meet your need then the Social Prescriber could even support you to create something new such as a gardening club, walking group, or book club within the community to benefit others as well.

Social prescribing can support you to have more control over your own health and wellbeing and find ways to improve how you feel in a way that suits you best. Studies show that people get better and feel better faster than those treated with medicine alone. And because it works, it’s happening more and more – including here in The Blackmore Vale!

This fantastic short video may help you understand our role further.

If you would like to book an appointment with us please contact the Surgery.


What does a Health and Wellbeing Coach do?

Our Health and Wellbeing coach works alongside the Social Prescribers providing coaching skills to support people to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become active participants in their own care so that they can reach their own health and wellbeing goals. They may also provide access to self-management education, peer support and social prescribing. Coaches will support people to self-identify existing issues and encourage proactive prevention of new and existing illnesses. This approach is based on using strong communication and negotiation skills and supports personal choice and positive risk taking.

They will work alongside people to coach and motivate them through multiple sessions, supporting them to identify their needs, set goals, and help them to implement their personalised health and care plan. We offer that via a series of 45-minute one-to-one coaching sessions to help set and achieve realistic goals relating to improved health and wellbeing. This can work especially well for those living with a long-term health condition but is available to anyone who feels they may benefit from this service.


What does a Care Coordinator do?

A Care Coordinator is the first point of contact for supporting GP’s and Nurses with the non-clinical needs of the persons more complex long-term health condition. A Care Coordinator also strives to assure the person is seen by the most appropriate clinician or clinic to achieve the best outcome for them.

We utilise the skills of our Care Coordinator who again works alongside our Social Prescribing colleagues and is often the first point of contact for any health and wellbeing need referral from the GP’s and Nurses. Our Care Coordinator also support people to utilise digital health options such as apps that enable people to self-manage their long term health conditions more closely and independently whilst having the security of a team they can access if they encounter any issues. We also utilise our Care Coordinator to support the development of peer-support opportunities for those with long term health conditions, and finally by supporting the delivery of high-quality carer support and maintaining the surgeries Carers register.


What does a Carers Lead do?

Our Carers Lead helps us to maintain a register of all our patients registered with the Surgery who have a non-paid caring role. We offer our registered Carers an annual wellbeing call where we utilise a team of trained and skilled Health Champions to assist us in this task. We are therefore quickly able to identify those Carers who need further support and able to address in a proactive manner anything that may otherwise have escalated into a bigger situation. Our Carers Lead liaises with Carers Support Dorset who provide a county wide service specifically relating to the needs of Carers. This enables us to help Carers seek respite care, benefits, and other offers which they may benefit from.


What does a Mental Health Gateway Worker do?

Our Mental Health Gateway Worker supports those living with emerging low to moderate mental health difficulties. They provide a listening ear, and signposting advice to what the best service might be for their individual and specific needs. Mental Health Gateway workers have all experienced Mental health difficulties themselves at sometime in their lives and have the compassion as well as skills and experience that enables them to provide a key service and are a valuable part of the Wellbeing Team experience.


How can we get involved?

What about becoming a Health Champion?

The practice champions are volunteers who work with the practice to improve services. They support service improvement, run groups for patients and help connect the practice with local voluntary groups. The practice works with them in a collaborative way, with much of the champions work arising from their own ideas. They also provide a source of additional capacity to assist the practice in its health promotion and outreach work. We utilise Health Champions in peer support groups, welcoming people at some of a project clinics, assisting at our Carers sessions, in inspiring and supporting any new initiatives and much more!

What about assisting us by volunteering in some of our projects?

Currently we are running several projects and we always need more volunteers- More volunteers mean more people who can be supported! Please do ask us what we need support with currently if you think you might be interested. We have various ways in which you could help from being a ‘Falls Buddy’ to meeting and greeting at a clinic!

What about helping us offer Peer Support to others living with the same condition as yourself?

Now that Covid restrictions are lifting and we are able to get out and about more we would like to increase our peer support offer. We have the opportunity to get some peer led groups up and running. As an example, we have just started one for Fibromyalgia which is supported by Wellbeing team staff but is essentially self-run by the members that attend- but it all needs to start somewhere! We need to know what groups you need; do you have a long-term health condition? Would you like to see others like yourself supporting each other, sharing tips and advice, or simply build a friendship network with those who understand? We are here to help make that possibility a reality.

Please get in touch by contacting the surgery or speaking to a member of staff


What else can we get involved with?

Each month our Wellbeing Team produce a ‘Shout Out’ which is a newsletter designed to help people become aware of various events and projects that are out there in the community designed to support or engage and to combat social isolation. You can find the latest details on our Facebook page.

You could follow us on Facebook through the Blackmore Vale Partnership page, as well as Sturminster Newton and Marnhull Community Kindness, and Shaftesbury Community Kindness.


Meet the team