Social Prescribing

Covid-19 update

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.

Social prescribing link workers (SPLWs), also known as navigators, provide an important function of social prescribing. SPLWs spend time with patients, identifying their needs and preferences, wellbeing goals and then supporting patients to access community services that are right for them. 

Islington Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have dedicated social prescribing link workers. Information on PCN SPLWs is available here.

What activities can patients be prescribed?

Types of activities are varied but often include: art classes, singing, gardening groups, faith groups, walking groups, volunteering and employment support, welfare and benefits advice, support to navigate through support options. Although a relatively new term, Islington has been social prescribing for many years. 

How to connect patients with social prescribing schemes

  • Anyone can link patients with community services, patients can also self-refer.
  • Primary care staff should refer patients to their PCN SPLWs

Other social prescribing services include:

More information

More information about the NHS and social prescribing can be found in: