Alison Leitch, Community Link Worker Network Area Lead for North Edinburgh, was recently part of a panel presenting evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s Inquiry into Alternative Pathways to Primary Care. The Committee’s MSPs spent a large part of their session on 22 March 2022 learning about the importance of social prescribing, Scotland’s link worker programme and the role of the third sector.
Alison is also on the working group of the Scottish Community Link Worker Network, the network and community of practice VHS is developing to represent and support community link workers who are embedded in primary care settings across Scotland. The Committee also heard evidence from Clare Cook, who is regional manager for SPRING Social Prescribing and who co-chairs the Scottish Social Prescribing Network (SSPN) with Alison. SSPN’s interests and members span a wide range of social prescribing, link working and community navigating interests. A further witness who gave evidence to the Committee was Roseann Logan, Links Programme Manager for the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, which deploys link workers across more than 30 Deep End primary care practices in Glasgow. A fourth witness, this time with a UK perspective, was Christiana Melam, Chief Executive of the National Association of Link Workers, the Birmingham based professional body for UK link workers.
The panel were asked their thoughts on a number of different questions including whether social prescribing could be used more widely in primary care and improving public awareness of social prescribing. Alison referenced the role of the Scottish Community Link Worker Network in helping to map where there are current community link worker programmes in Scotland and supporting the training and development needs of link workers. The full proceedings are set out in the Official Report of the Session.
For more information about the Scottish Community Link Worker Network, please contact Roisin Hurst