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Radiology student shines light on social prescribing

Matthew Kilkeeney and Thailay Roscoe.

A Salford University student, on placement at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, has grabbed national attention for her work on social prescribing.

Social prescribing connects people with activities and opportunities within their local community. It is a non-medical approach that helps people to focus on the things that are important to them and enables them to set their own goals. Tameside’s Social Prescribing Service is provided by Action Together.

Diagnostic radiography student Thailay Roscoe’s interest in social prescribing was sparked during a lecture on the subject at university.

She explained: "I was curious about social prescribing as it's not something that we really do in diagnostic radiography. Due to the limited time we have with our patients, our role within social prescribing is mainly based around signposting.”

Thailay thinks this is something that that could change and would improve patient care, so she became an NHS Allied Health Professional Social Prescribing Champion and along with other students hosted a Twitter takeover to raise awareness.

Thailay said: “The main aim of what we are doing is to raise awareness that radiographers should be taking a more holistic approach, considering the whole person and not just what is wrong with them and the anatomy we are imaging.

"We want radiographers to have a good understanding of how to hold short healthy conversations with patients, and acting on that information through signposting and social prescribing referral, if appropriate. By doing this we can ensure we are providing better outcomes for our patients.”

Matthew Kilheeney, Radiology Manager at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Social prescribing has the potential to be the next big thing in healthcare, and it’s really pleasing that Thailay is taking a leading role on this. It has been excellent for her to represent the profession and Trust at both regional and national forums.

"The research that she is doing fits with our vision of improving all aspects of imaging at the Trust, and will have a really positive impact on the patients of Tameside and Glossop. We are excited to work together on the implementation of Social Prescribing in the department in the near future."

Michelle Pilling, Senior Lead for Social Prescribing at NHS E who spotted the Twitter takeover, said, “In an increasingly complex and specialised health care system challenging existing learning and the established curriculum is vital to ensuring that tomorrow's clinicians have adaptable skills to keep ahead of 21st Century medicine.

“The vital work of social prescribing student champions challenges established thinking about medicalised care to incorporate a more personalised approach. Representing the growing awareness amongst students of the imperative to address health inequalities and better support the conditions for people to take more control of their own health and care. This requires action across the social determinants of health, outside of the reach of the consulting room, across every specialism and clinical pathway.”

Individuals aged 18 years or above, who either live in Tameside or who have a GP in Tameside, can access the Social Prescribing Service through referral - either made by a professional in Tameside or by the person themselves. Self-referral can be made into the social prescribing service or by calling 0161 830 6833 or emailing socialprescribing@actiontogether.org.uk 

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