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 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:

  • a 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 can be made through GPs and clinicians.

Updated 19.2.21