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, when a medical intervention or just treating clinical origins is not getting to the root of the individual’s problem.
GPs, nurses, housing providers, social care teams and even family members can refer patients to a team of Social Prescribing Advisors to work with them to identify non-medical interventions e.g. social activity, diet, relaxation and exercise that could improve both their health and wellbeing.
Often they are provided by the local voluntary sector, but statutory services provided by councils, housing associations or the NHS can also be involved. The prescriptions can include referrals to everything from arts groups and volunteering to activities that involve physical exercise, such as gardening and dance clubs. It can also involve simply putting people in contact with services that can provide help and advice with issues such as debt, benefits and housing.
Most schemes have a link worker or navigator who GPs refer patients on to and they organise the social prescription, but there are examples of doctors referring patients directly on to an activity.
Voluntary Centre Services West Lindsey is currently running a Social Prescribing Pilot in the Gainsborough Area. The Gainsborough team is now accepting referrals from the wider client community and can be contact on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01427 613470 (Mon-Thurs 10am-3pm only).
You can download a leaflet about the project and our referral forms below.