What is a regulatory sandbox? And why is it crucial to the digital transformation of the health sector?
Tuesday 01 October 2019
So, what is a sandbox? Why would we need one? Does it work? What’s happening next?
As a former clinical pharmacist, I am in favour of making use of complementary solutions, such as exercise, diet and social prescribing, to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and communities.
Social prescribing, as defined by The Kings Fund, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services such as arts activities, cookery and gardening. It is an approach that supports self-management of health and wellbeing.
NHS England is committed to building the infrastructure for social prescribing as part of the delivery of Universal Personalised Care. A key commitment of personalised care is to put in place 1,000 trained social prescribing link workers so that by 2024 at least 900,000 people will be referred to social prescribing schemes. This would represent the biggest investment in social prescribing by any national health system.
We have recently had the chance to discuss this subject with members of the public, as part of an engagement programme on behalf of Arts Council England on its emerging draft strategy. We used an appropriately creative approach to our engagement for Arts Council England, as you can see from the illustrations below!
Although the discussion focus was creativity, the topic of social prescribing was very popular amongst participants. This captured my attention, because I know people very often see creativity in their lives as key to health and wellbeing.
NHS England states that its investment “legitimises community-based activities and support alongside medical treatment”. Our engagement suggests that members of the public are ready to see social prescription as a legitimate approach to patient care. Further public and stakeholder engagement can build a more complete picture of the perceived challenges and benefits of this practice. This is important because an understanding of public attitudes could be key to a successful roll-out of the NHS’s ambitious scheme.