What are examples of an effective social prescribing model?

Social prescribing models offer primary care providers in the NHS the choice to refer people to a wider network of community-based services, which are often non-clinical. It’s an important change in health and social care and comes with some key benefits.

Referring patients through social prescribing recognises that people’s health is not only affected by physical and mental health issues, but also by a wide range of social, economic and environmental factors.

By offering holistic solutions to individuals’ needs, patients become more directly involved in their care planning and encouraged to take more control of their own health. We have collected some great examples of how primary care providers can refer patients to non-clinical services.

Fantastic examples of social prescribing in practice

People can be referred into various different forms of activity and support networks, such as painting classes, music groups, exercise and health clubs, gardening groups and cookery classes. There are a wide range of other interest areas provided by voluntary and community sector organisations.

Social prescribing models vary around the country and they are evolving quickly. Most will involve a link worker or care navigator, often working within primary care - usually a GP practice or PCN (Primary Care Network) - to support people in accessing support that’s local to them.

Who can benefit from social prescribing?

Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focused 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.

What funding is available for a social prescribing link worker?

From July 2019, NHS England is offering 100% reimbursement of the salary of a full time Band 5 Social Prescribing Link Worker for every 13,000 patients. This funding will be paid to practices through their PCN.

It’s time to start thinking about who will be suitable for this important role, how you will support your Social Prescriber, who they will link in with and the potential social prescribing networks available in the community around you.

Following the right course of action

Voluntary and community organisations are in place all over the country – some small, local groups and others large, national charities. They want to work with practices and help primary care meet the needs of local people. They just need the opportunity to get to know you.

Now is the time to prescribe more than medication… it’s time to prescribe holistic care, hand in hand with other professionals and agencies. Let’s do it together through effective social prescribing!

Award-winning primary care trainers Thornfields are offering a series of workshop to shape and develop the social prescribing function within your Primary Care organisation.  Get in touch today to find out how they can benefit your practice!


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