Chris Oakes

Dr Tom Howseman

A campaign to recruit social prescribing link workers to Northamptonshire’s Primary Care Networks has proved a big success, with all advertised vacancies set to be filled.

The recruitment, led by Northamptonshire CCGs and the Local Workforce Advisory Board (LWAB) in partnership with Best of Both Worlds, was launched in July and attracted plenty of media attention – including from BBC Look East, BBC Radio Northampton and GP Online.

A total of 27 applicants were shortlisted to attend recruitment events, where they got the chance to meet the county’s Primary Care Network (PCN) teams as well as being interviewed for the roles. This resulted in the successful selection of new link workers to all of the PCNs in Northamptonshire who advertised for the position, including four posts provided in partnership with Age UK Northamptonshire.

Tom Howseman, clinical director for one of the recruiting PCNs, said: “The recruitment campaign has made a tangible difference to the ability of our PCN to recruit to the role of social prescribing link worker, and created a template for how I think Northamptonshire’s primary care staff should be recruited. At a time when recruitment is such a headache, this approach genuinely helped us all.”

The successful candidates will now undertake a countywide induction programme funded by our county’s Primary Care Workforce Group. Eight sessions will bring all the new link workers together, support their development and facilitate ‘buddying’ to ensure those more experienced can support those that are newer to these patient-facing roles.

Chris Oakes, LWAB chair and joint workforce lead for NHCP, said: “The number and quality of candidates that came forward demonstrates the far-reaching effect Best of Both Worlds can have and that when we take a systemwide approach to initiatives such as recruitment, we can be much more impactful than working in isolation.”

The link worker role is central to the success of social prescribing, as they are responsible for creating and maintaining the link between the prescribed services and the person benefiting from the prescription.

The successful recruitment will be followed up with further recruitment to support the launch of NHCP’s county-wide social prescribing service.