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Many of us will be familiar with social prescribing as a concept within our local communities, but let’s consider why doctors in training need a dedicated service and why those needs may differ to what we might think of as ‘traditional’ social prescribing.

The NHSE and NHS Trust Social Prescribing team is available to all doctors (and their families) who gained their medical qualification overseas and are aligned with a specialist training programme within the Yorkshire and Humber and North East deaneries.

  • We offer one to one, non-judgemental social prescribing support to ‘international medical graduates’ (IMG) GP and medical specialty trainees and their direct family members
  • We can support in any area of a person’s wellbeing that is a non-medical issue but is affecting their ability to self-care and stay well. This can include concerns around accommodation, finances, childcare, worries about their training and anxiety and much more
  • Support is offered even before the trainee arrives in the UK, as soon as they are offered a place on a training scheme. Often clients might be joining from overseas initially, such as Nigeria, Asia or the Middle East. Support via Teams can continue for as long as they wish throughout the duration of their training
  • Individualised care and motivation is provided to those who may require personalised solutions to social, emotional or practical needs – we work with people to co-produce their own ‘social prescription’ and empower them to make changes and adjustments
  • We are a signposting service, which works in partnership with local services and organisations to support and advise people who may be new to the area / country / UK culture
  • By empowering a trainee to take control of their concerns and overcoming challenging or difficult issues, they are free to focus whole heartedly upon their ‘day job’ and their training
  • Appointments take place virtually via teams, as opposed to face to face, due to the geographical span the service covers. These consultations can continue for as long as the client wishes, throughout the duration of their training

Let’s ‘listen in’ to a Teams call between the Social Prescriber Link Worker and ‘John’, a doctor in training

SPLW: Hi John, thanks for joining the Teams call today. How  have you been since the last time we had a chat?

John:   We are ok, thanks for all your advice and help with finding a place to rent in Sheffield! Such a relief to finally have found somewhere, and we love it here.

SPLW: That’s a pleasure, I hope you are both ok and are getting settled?

John:   We are – but I need your help with something else – my wife and I are going through a difficult time

SPLW: Sorry to hear that – tell me more about how I can help

John:   My wife is not well – she has to have hospital appointments and check-ups. I am finding it difficult to manage my training and also to be there for her

SPLW: I am really sorry to hear this – let’s talk through this and think about what kind of help you both need right now

  • Life can be overwhelming

The SPLW and John were able to talk through John’s feelings – facing a sudden health crisis was frightening for him. John and his wife felt alone as their family and friends, those who know and care for them, were overseas.

  • Guiding and signposting

Knowing the SPLW was on hand and having someone to listen to how he was feeling was a good start for John. In talking things over, the SPLW was able to give practical advice about help from the GP and other specialist services. As time went on, with the support  from the SPLW and others such as his GP, John and his wife were able to find the help they needed to get through this. Just getting the right advice, at the right time and knowing they can get in touch with questions and find out more is enough to start them on their way.

  • Someone to listen

John appreciated someone just being there to listen to him, someone he could turn to in his time of need. There was no judgment, just empathy, with time to talk and to explore what options may be available to John and his family.

  • Conclusion

The impact and support from the SPLW was appreciated and valued by John and his family and helped them become stronger and more confident in how they could approach their challenges.

Thank you for reading this. If you are a doctor in training aligned with a scheme in Yorkshire and the Humber, North East deaneries, please get in touch if you need us. Your SPLW will be able to help with making life for you and your family a little smoother and easier.


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