People living in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will soon have access to social prescribing services through a new digital partnership.

The area’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) has partnered with tech company Elemental to deliver better access to non-medical support services.

The partnership spans community services, GPs and voluntary sector organisations and gives clinicians access to Elemental’s social prescribing platform.

It will allow GPs to connect people with services close to their home to help improve their wellbeing. Rollout of the system is due to start after Easter.

Julie Sharma, director of transformation at Sirona, which provides community services across the region, said: “People have told us that often non-clinical support can really help improve their quality of life and their health and wellbeing but they don’t always know where to go for this assistance.

“Our community teams, GPs and organisations within the voluntary sector know exactly what is available in each area and this system will help to bring it together for those in our care and our communities.

“It means a GP can connect an individual to activities close to their home which will enable them to improve their wellbeing in a way which suits them; this could be by linking them to a walking group, advice on healthy eating or a support group for a specific condition.”

Social prescribing is a method of signposting people to non-medical sources of support within the community to help improve their wellbeing. It often includes activities like fitness, gardening, cooking, and support groups.

Jennifer Neff, chief executive of Elemental Software, added: “Our purpose is to empower and enable individuals, families and their carers to better connect into community programmes, services and interventions that make a positive impact on their lives.

“We are really excited to work with Sirona, GP colleagues and the voluntary sector to introduce digital social prescribing across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire using software which is already used by GP practices and will evaluate the success for an individual.

“It will also help reduce pressures by reducing the need for people to attend routine advisory appointments.”

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