Community Link Worker initiatives are being introduced across the City of Edinburgh. These posts and services are intended to bridge the gap between GP surgeries, and opportunities made available by local charities and community groups.
Further to a number of engagement events with EVOC in 2016, and research conducted with a range of stakeholders, including Lothian Community Health Initiative Forum members, a report detailing a preferred model for the city has been made available.
The subject of Link Workers has been discussed at recent Forum meetings, and it will be interesting to see what impact investment in this model has on shifting health inequalities in the City of Edinburgh and Lothians.
Quoted from the Executive Summary:
In December 2015, NHS Lothian commissioned a piece of research on community link working in order to map the existing projects in Edinburgh; investigate other projects across Scotland; establish what best practice is according to current research; gather the views of local Primary Care staff as to what their needs and preferred ways of working would be; gather the experiences of patients, both good and bad so that practice could be improved and their views taken into account.
Proposed Community Link Worker Model
Key elements of the model
- A GP cluster based model with a single point of access
- Skill mix link worker team (employed by 3rd sector) depending on cluster needs and priorities
- Link workers must have the ‘right’ skills, including excellent listening, communicating and people skills and the ability to develop trusting relationships and have ‘good’ conversations.
- Initially no specific referral criteria but a focus on ‘vulnerable’ people
- Person centred approach using common assessment & goal setting tools/ outcome focussed
- GP engagement and support established from the outset
- Focus on prevention and reducing health inequalities
- Clear referral pathways established to citywide and local third sector
- Non dependency relationship
- Identifies gaps in local / citywide service provision to refer people on to
- Locality and city wide governance structures in place
- Sustainable funding for third sector service provision
- Local NHS Programme Lead to oversee and support implementation of the model
- Improvement methodology to be used to evaluate the model