Social prescribing is a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector.  This report describes a pilot social prescribing project in Yorkshire and Humber, and sets out a model for partnership working between primary care and the voluntary sector to provide social prescribing.

The model used by the pilot was for an organisation from the voluntary sector to take a lead role in managing the assessment and referral of people to appropriate social support within the voluntary sector.

In addition to reductions in visits to their GP, the study identified the benefits of social prescribing as including:

More appropriate use of clinicians’ time, allowing them to concentrate on medical issues during all consultations
Increases in the range of services offered by the practice, allowing a more holistic care package
Improvements in the link between the practice and the local voluntary and community sector
Encouragement and support of self-care can support people with long-term conditions
Improvements in patients’ mental health and wellbeing
Support for the QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) agenda.

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