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Social prescribing

Social prescribing

Social prescribing occurs when health professionals or link workers refer patients to support in the community, in order to improve their health and wellbeing. 

GPs, nurses and other members of the primary care team are able to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services often provided by the voluntary sector. It can help individuals to experience a better quality of life, improved mental and emotional wellbeing, and lower levels of depression and anxiety.

As part of the wider NHSE comprehensive model of personalised care, social prescribing refers to a wide range of alternative methods to promoting health and well-being including mental health in today’s modern health care settings. There is no agreed single approach used to deliver successful social prescribing, it is however, a key method to support asset based person centered self-care.

Social prescribed services such as ‘arts on prescription’, gardening, or ‘exercise on prescription’, utilises an individual’s strengths to enable them to manage their own medical conditions. At an even more fundamental level these activities encourage people to get out and about, promotes independence, reduces social isolation and improves community networks.

Social prescribing connects people to community groups and services, often through the support of a link worker, and works with people to produce a tailored plan to meet the person’s wellbeing needs. They help people by connecting them to activities and support within their local area. It is anticipated that every GP practice will host a link worker by 2020 who will work with the multidisciplinary team to ensure that patients are referred to appropriate asset based non-medical support in the community. This can include a range of activities as well as debt, housing or employment advice.

The RCN Congress fringe event on social prescribing was live streamed. You can watch a recording of the launch event. If you haven't done so already, you will need to register for a free account to access this.

See: Nurse-led social prescribing: Does it work?

In the video below, Joyce Pickering talks about her social prescribing project.

Joyce Pickering: Social prescribing