Social prescribing

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is a means by which GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals can refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services to support an individual’s good health and overall wellbeing.

Sometimes referred to as community referral, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way, within a local community. It is about connecting people to sources of help and support within their local community.

Social prescribing encourages people to be better informed, to understand more about their health, enabling them to be more proactive in shaping their own personal wellbeing.

Examples of things which may impact people’s health:

  • chosen lifestyle – including diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol, sleep patterns, etc.
  • family and wider social support
  • education, language and skills
  • access to care
  • housing
  • income and jobs
  • safety
  • mental wellbeing.

For patients, this means your GP or healthcare professional can connect you with social, physical and other community-based groups and activities which will help provide practical and emotional support, leading to better health and wellbeing.

Examples of the variety of activities you might be linked with include volunteering, arts and crafts, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of physical activities and support groups.

Referral to social prescribing pathways

Referral to social prescribing support can be made through the surgery GPs and nurses. Patients can also self-refer by completing this form and returning it to reception.

Ali McCarthy is the Social Prescriber based here at St Mary’s Surgery. She can be contacted through the surgery or the above referral process.

Ali offers support with the following structure:

  • 6-12 sessions of one-to-one consultation (this can be extended according to need and mutual arrangement) 
  • Each session is between 30 mins to 1 hour (this can be extended according to need and mutual agreement) 
  • Telephone appointments will be offered as a first choice. Face to face appointments, if preferred, can be arranged in compliance with all COVID precautions. The venue can be discussed and mutually agreed.
  • We ask that you complete the ONS4 Wellbeing Scale. This scale is used to measure your self-perceived overall wellbeing at the beginning of your consultation. This forms part of our person-centred and holistic way of supporting you to achieve your goals in overall wellbeing.