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Social Prescribing

What is Social Prescribing?

Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.

Who is involved in Social Prescribing?

Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.

There are many different models for social prescribing, but most involve a link worker or navigator who works with people to access local sources of support (Kings Fund; Feb 2017)

Where does Social Prescribing take place?

Social prescribing schemes can involve a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports. 

Why Social Prescribing?

In addition to supporting individuals to take greater control of their own health, social prescribing schemes may also lead to a reduction in the use of NHS services.

Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focussed on improving mental health and physical well-being. Those who could benefit from social prescribing schemes include people with mild or long-term mental health problems, vulnerable groups, people who are socially isolated, and those who frequently attend either primary or secondary health care.

Source: Adapted from Kings Fund Website Accessed 27/03/2017 

Primary Care Hub Commitments to Social Prescribing (2017)

At a national event to support implementation of the Welsh Government Primary Care Plan (October 2016), a session led by the National Professional Lead for Primary Care generated interest in the role of wellbeing services and social prescribing in Wales. Following this it has been agreed that the Public Health Wales Primary Care Hub will coordinate the delivery of three commitments in relation to social prescribing:

Commitment 1: Evidence mappingPublic Health Wales Observatory Evidence Service will map all relevant evidence for social prescribing practice.  

Commitment 2: Develop a systematic process for gathering and sharing social prescribing activity. Health Board Heads of Primary Care have provided information regarding current or intended social prescribing activity in their areas (February 2017). The information provided has been captured and can be viewed by Health Board area 
Commitment 3: Organise regional and national event (s) to develop and share learning. Learning events will take place to share the local project experiences and provide opportunities to learn from approaches outside of Wales. Information detailing planned learning events is included in the Events area

Methodology - Project Team

To oversee this work, a Social Prescribing project team has been set up with representatives of Primary Care Clusters, Heads of Primary Care, Local Public Health Teams, CVC’s and individuals with links to wider networks e.g. third sector, green health. It is hoped that cross-membership with other groups will connect the Hub’s work to other national programmes that relate to social prescribing in Wales e.g. community development, use of green space and time banking.
Social Prescribing in Wales 2018 

Social prescribing projects

Social prescribing projects by area