Social Prescribing

How can social prescribing be used in healthcare?

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients in primary care with non-clinical services in the community. It is a means of addressing the social determinants of health, which are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. They shape health inequalities.

There is growing evidence that social prescribing can be an effective way of addressing the social determinants of health and improving health and wellbeing.

Social prescribing can be used to support people with a range of health conditions, including mental health problems, chronic physical health conditions, and social isolation.

A social prescribing scheme in Lambeth, south London, has been found to reduce GP consultations by 13%, A&E attendances by 21% and hospital admissions by 28%.

A study in Bradford found that social prescribing was associated with a reduction in GP consultations of 19.4% and a reduction in A&E attendances of 13.6%.

A systematic review of the evidence on social prescribing found that it can lead to improvements in mental health, physical health, social connectedness and wellbeing.

Social prescribing can be delivered in a number of ways, including through community link workers, health trainers, community development workers, and peer support workers.

It is important that social prescribing schemes are designed and delivered in a way that is responsive to the needs of the local population.

If you are a healthcare professional and would like to find out more about social prescribing, please contact your local authority or primary care trust.

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients in primary care with non-medical support within their local communities. It is a means of addressing the social, psychological and emotional needs of patients, which may be contributing to their ill health.

Social prescribing has been found to be an effective way of improving health and wellbeing, and reducing health inequalities. It can help to address the social determinants of health, and can be used to support patients with a range of long-term conditions.

Social prescribing can take a number of different forms, but typically involves linking patients with community-based services and activities, such as exercise classes, gardening groups, art classes, and support groups. It can also involve signposting patients to other services, such as debt advice, housing support, and employment advice.

Social prescribing can be delivered by a range of different health professionals, including GPs, nurses, and social workers. It is important that social prescribing is tailored to the individual needs of the patient, and that it is delivered in a way that is convenient and accessible for them.

There is growing evidence to support the use of social prescribing, and it is being increasingly adopted by healthcare organisations across the UK. If you think social prescribing could be right for you, speak to your GP or another healthcare professional.

What are the benefits of social prescribing?

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests social prescribing can have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Social prescribing is a way of referring people to non-clinical services in the community, such as exercise classes, art groups or gardening clubs.

The benefits of social prescribing are thought to include:

  • improved health and wellbeing
  • reduced social isolation and loneliness
  • increased levels of physical activity
  • improved mental health
  • reduced pressure on GP time

A recent study found that social prescribing was associated with a reduction in GP visits, A&E attendances and hospital admissions. The study also found that social prescribing was cost-effective, with the savings outweighing the costs of the intervention.

Another study found that social prescribing was associated with a reduction in depression and anxiety, and an improvement in self-esteem and quality of life.

There is also evidence that social prescribing can be effective in supporting people to quit smoking and lose weight.

Social prescribing can be delivered in a number of ways, such as through community link workers, health trainers or community development workers. It is important that social prescribing is tailored to the needs of the individual and the community, and that referral pathways are established with local services.

If you are interested in social prescribing, talk to your GP or another healthcare professional about whether it could be right for you.