A new film on ‘social prescribing’ demonstrates new support service for parents, in bid to address to health inequalities in Liverpool.
The Best for Baby Too film has been launched by Wellbeing Liverpool, a partnership of GPs, other health professionals and community groups working together to provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing across the city. It shows new mums and mums-to-be that they have a practical new resource to turn to for support.
Best for Baby Too urges new mums to make use of a supportive new service called ‘social prescribing’, which can help them access extra information and support before and after the birth of their child, so that their child has the best possible start in life.
Alongside the baby-focused information that you’d traditionally get from a midwife or health visitor, social prescribers can help with a wide range of worries such as finances, childcare, confidence and isolation – where new parents may not know where to turn for support.
The period from when a baby is conceived until they are 12 months old is known as the ‘perinatal’ period, and is critical for mother, baby and families. Babies experience rapid neurological growth and physical development during this time.
Dr. Melisa Campbell, a public health consultant for Liverpool City Council said:
“All parents want the best start in life for their children, so we owe it to all our mums and their babies to make it as easy for them as possible – which is what social prescribing is all about. If a mum has worries or cares of any kind, small or large, we can find a way to help. If our Liverpool mums are happy and stress-free and enjoying life, our Liverpool babies will be too.”
Liverpool has some of the sharpest health inequalities in the country – a baby girl born in Kensington can expect to live 13 fewer years in good health than one born and raised in Kensington in London. Social prescribing has an important role to play in helping to address these health inequalities, and improving health and wellbeing for many new families across the city.
“Supporting parents to be the best parents they can be, and helping each child to reach their full potential – that’s why I come to work,” says Rachel Farmer, a local health visitor, and one of many health professionals across the city now able to signpost new parents to extra support through social prescribing.
In Liverpool, one in three patients contact their GP with concerns that can’t be addressed clinically, and for many people the pandemic has only increased their isolation, money worries, and mental distress.
But Liverpool’s unique approach to social prescribing has seen GPs and other health professionals partner with organisations such as Citizens Advice, to help patients access information and activities that can boost their wellbeing and improve their quality of life.
Dr Cheryl Lowes, a local GP and one of the team behind the Liverpool Wellbeing Partnership said:
“Everyone can have a social prescription, and the wider GP team at GP surgeries including nurses and receptionists, can all refer patients to a social prescriber. The social prescriber, or link worker as they are also sometimes called, will spend time with patients to understand their current circumstances, their interests, and their hopes for the futures – and work with them to develop a tailor-made plan to help them improve their health and wellbeing.”
Wellbeing Liverpool is encouraging anyone who is struggling to ask their GP practice for a social prescriber to help them address any worries they may have – from preparing for the arrival of a new baby or support with parenting, to money problems or loneliness.
In addition, new mums or mums-to-be can also talk to their midwife or health visitor about accessing extra support through social prescribing at any time.
You can watch the full Best for Baby Too film below.