On 1 May 2020, NHS England and Improvement issued a letter reviewing the role of Social Prescribing Link Workers and the changing nature of their work supporting and coordinating the local response to Covid-19.
What is social prescribing?
Social prescribing is about helping people find ways to improve their health and wellbeing by linking them up with what’s going on in their local area.
Social prescribing seeks to move away from a medical model and towards a holistic person-centred, or family-centred, view of well-being, identifying the root causes of the individual’s and/or family’s issues and tackling them head on, to connect them into community-based support, and making the most of community and informal support.
What activities can patients be social prescribed to?
Types of activities are varied, but often include: art classes, singing, gardening groups, faith groups, volunteering and employment support, walking groups.
Although a relatively new term, in Islington we have been social prescribing for many years.
How to connect patients with social prescribing schemes
For patients who have non-clinical needs but need support identifying community services that are right for them, patients can be referred to social prescribing link workers (also known as navigators). Social prescribing link workers spend time with patients, identifying their needs and preferences, wellbeing goals and then supporting patients to access community services.
To refer patients to these services, please see the Age UK Navigation Service page or the Help on Your Doorstep Service page.
More information about the NHS and social prescribing can be found in:
1. The NHS Long Term Plan (2019)
2. The NHS Universal Personalised Care Model Implementation Guide (2019)