Supported by the clinical and administrative staff of the practice and overseen by a partner and the practice social prescriber, service users have co-designed and co-produced a resource- The Listening Space – that encompasses a garden, sewing and cookery classes and other activities. All are welcomed to it and people are encouraged to contribute and participate. Professional support is present to provide therapeutic input in a less formal setting than traditional consultations and contributes to the feeling of safety that many vulnerable users welcome and require.
The Listening space is for patients registered with the GP practice. Patients are encouraged to self-refer or they can be referred by their clinician or a social prescriber. Many are referred for the benefits to their mental health, however not all referrals are based on mental health issues.
The Listening space is identified as important to the population for the following reasons:
- A sense of community and belonging
- Reducing isolation and stigma and trying to find ways to build confidence in themselves and their capacity to both look after themselves and contribute something
- A non-medical desire to improve their health and well-being
- A place for activities and looking after themselves but in the knowledge that professional support is present
From this project there have been the following outcomes/outputs (subject to formal evaluation):
- User and professional satisfaction
- Individual stories of radically improved health, mental health and self-confidence outcomes
- Reduced use of health resources (reduced use of medication, reduced primary and secondary care consultations and admissions)
- Wider contributions to society-back to work, reduced dependence on other parts of the care system