An investigation into the concept of social prescribing, with case studies.
“Social prescribing – sometimes called community referrals – is a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of non-clinical services”.
Just what the doctor ordered. Social prescribing: a guide for local authorities. Case studies. London: Local Government Association, May 18th 2016.
A King’s Fund “Explainer” on Social Prescribing
There is now a Social Prescribing Network.
“Social prescribing enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services”.
What is social prescribing? [Online]: King’s Fund, February 2nd 2017.
Social Prescribing: Less Rhetoric Prescribed?
Researchers point to challenges in measuring the outcomes of complex interventions, and difficulties making meaningful comparisons between different non-standard local schemes.
Evidence to inform the commissioning of social prescribing. York: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (University of York), February 2015.
A systematic review assessing evidence for the effectiveness of social prescribing noted a high risk of bias with methodological shortcomings including the lack of comparative controls, short follow-up durations, lack of standardised / validated measurements, missing data and failure to consider confounding factors.
Bickerdike, L. Booth, A. [and] Wilson, PM. [et al] (2017). Social prescribing: less rhetoric and more reality. A systematic review of the evidence. BMJ Open. April 7th 2017; 7(4): e013384.
Social Prescribing Link Worker Role
Information from NHS England on how Primary Care Networks (PCNs) can introduce social prescribing link workers into their multi-disciplinary teams (under funded expansion of the primary care workforce, as specified in GP contract reforms).
Social prescribing link workers: reference guide for primary care networks. London: NHS England / Personalised Care Group, July 30th 2019.
Social Prescriber Link Workers’ Resource Pack (NHS England)
NHS England has released a “welcome pack” of for social prescribing link workers .
Social Prescribing Link Worker welcome pack. [Online]: NHS England, September 5th 2019.
There is also a Patient Information Quick Summary leaflet.
An amusing (if jaundiced) reflection on the lack of firm evidence for the efficacy of social prescribing, drawing a possibly unfair parallel with medieval proto-medical superstition:
Patterson, J. (2019). The people’s druggist. [Online]: NHSNetworks, August 1st 2019.