Social Prescribing in the East of England

People’s health and wellbeing are determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors. Around 1 in 5 GP appointments are non medical related which suggests that we cannot rely only on medication or doctors to fix these problems. For example, people may visit their GP because they may be feeling isolated, lonely or suffering from stress at work.

Social prescribing is a means of enabling GPs, and other health and care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. Social prescribing connects people up to practical and emotional community support through knowledgeable professionals known as Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLW) often supported by local voluntary and community sector infrastructure agencies.

Examples of Social prescribing can include:

  • Volunteering
  • Arts and Culture Activities
  • Group Learning
  • Gardening
  • Befriending
  • Cookery
  • Healthy Eating Advice
  • Sports or Physical Activity
  • & Much More

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker? 

Social Prescribing Link Workers give people time by focusing on a Universalised Personalised Care approach to health and wellbeing. This allows people to get more control over their healthcare and manage their needs in a way that suits them. A Social Prescribing Link Worker will listen to the person, create a shared plan and connect them up to community groups and staturary services for practical and emotional support.

Social Prescribing Link Workers work closely with voluntary and community organisations who provide a range or activities like gardening, volunteering, group learning, befriending, physical activities; art activities and much more.

Link Workers support individuals

  • with one or more long-term conditions
  • who need support with their mental health
  • who are lonely or isolated
  • who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

Other Forms of Social Prescribing

Young People's Social Prescribing Link Worker

Social prescribing has a number of recognised sub-categories such as:

Green Social Prescribing which focuses on all nature-based interventions and activities, such as walking for health, community gardening, forest therapy and much more. These activities can take place in forests, parks, gardens and anywhere in the natural environment.

Blue Social Prescribing includes any activities and interventions that involve being in, on or near the water, including activities like fishing, boating, and much more that takes places in lakes, rivers, creeks and more.

How Social Prescribing is Improving Population Health on the Frontline: Jane's Story

Population Health Management helps us understand our current and predict our future health and care needs so we can offer more personalised care, design more joined-up, sustainable health and care services and make better use of public resources.

Jane Waddington used to call the GP or 999 every day, and spent every day confined to her front room until professionals in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System reached out to her through Social Prescribing Link Worker - Victoria Harding - using a Population Health Management (PHM) approach. Since Jane met Victoria, her health and wellbeing has improved dramatically. It was simple alterations to her flat and living conditions which have had a huge impact on her health and wellbeing.

Some of Our Learning Together Network Members