Practice update for clinicians on social prescribing.
Emerging evidence suggests that social prescribing can improve people’s health and wellbeing and reduce workload for healthcare professionals and demand for secondary care services. In England social prescribing is part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Primary Care Networks will be funded to employ a social prescriber from 2019. Social prescribing is targeted at a range of patients, including those who are socially isolated and those with long term physical and/or mental health conditions. Social prescribers have a variety of names that include link worker, community connector, community navigator, and health trainer. The role varies from simple signposting to activities to more intensive and sometimes longer term individual support. Further research is needed to identify who is most likely to benefit from social prescribing and what type of intervention is most cost effective.