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Combatting loneliness in York: case study




NHS Confederation

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This case study illustrates how asset-based community development has led to a significant reduction in non-clinical GP visits for loneliness and isolation in York. In 2015, GPs across York were reporting an increase in visits for non-clinical reasons, such as loneliness and isolation. The council decided to embed a health and wellbeing strategy at the heart of its delivery, which proactively engaged with health, voluntary, housing and other cross-sector teams to set up a system that would not only help to curtail levels of social isolation, but reduce GP visits for non-clinical reasons. This entailed setting up a local area coordination (LAC) team – a dozen place-based workers, to provide social support to residents and signpost to VCSO groups such as the good gym / home share/ walking groups; and a practitioners forum that, through regular meetings, brings together link workers across the sectors to share learning. Key benefits and outcomes included: GP visits for non-clinical reasons have reduced by a third; local area coordination (LAC) is recognised as having a £4 social return on investment for every £1 invested; LAC teams, which have increased in number from three (2017) to 11, can respond rapidly to crises within their own communities; between 76 per cent and 96 per cent of LAC work is diverting the need for services in people’s lives, through supporting non-service solutions instead. (Edited publisher abstract)

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