Policy and strategy in social prescribing

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Chief Medical Officers report (2018) Chapter 4, the Social Health chapter:

..."there could be a radical boost to social prescribing and significant investment in peer support in the NHS to shift it from a ‘sickness service’ to a ‘health service’. In July 2018, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, announced his priorities for the health and social care system, which included more use of social prescribing.  Technology facilitates the introduction of social prescribing at pace and at scale in a way that has not been possible before; it is incumbent upon us to seize the opportunities of technology to strengthen our communities and our social health."

NHS: Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View[1]

Chapter 7 (Funding and efficiency) seeks to ensure demand is met more appropriately, which includes how health care resources and used and working to promote healthy communities (through self-care and social prescribing).

NHS: General Practice Five Year Forward View - Social Prescribing is defined as one of the Ten High Impact Areas to release capacity and redesign general practice.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts Health and Wellbeing - Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing (July 2017) - report demonstrates that the arts can make an invaluable contribution to a healthy and health-creating society.

Work Foundation: Social Prescribing – A pathway to work[2]

Reviews evidence for social prescribing helping people back to work. Starting from the basis that work is good for health, it advocates that a return to work be more explicitly a potential outcome dependent on the individual’s desires (in line with the Individual Placement and Support model) with better training for SP teams to help people seek work if wished. It recognises the conflicting ethos between DWP policy, with its sanctions, and the SP person-centred voluntary approach.   

Health & Social Care Alliance Scotland[3]  

A webpage full of resources relating to social prescribing/Links workers.

Older people’s independence, mental wellbeing, and loneliness[4]

NICE guidance for older people references social prescribing & Rotherham model.

The Missing Million report

The report provides advice on how to identify lonely people and then how to engage with socially isolated citizens.[5]

Mental Health Foundation reports

Mental Health and Prevention report discusses the role of social prescribing to help people with mental health conditions.[6]

Creating Connections project used self-management and peer support to help single mothers and this reports on the benefits.[7]

Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health[8]

Guidance for commissioners of financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable mental health services and provides a slightly different angle taken on the benefits of social prescribing: 

Academic papers in social prescribing

Recently published on the BMJ open site, Bickerdike et al 'Social prescribing: less rhetoric and more reality. A systematic review of the evidence' [9]which concludes that the evidence currently is limited for effectiveness and value for money. Recommendations are made for further investigations into social prescribing. This issue is further discussed by Pilkington et al in this report.[10]

Mercer et al have published a protocol for evaluating an social prescribing service in Glasgow[11] as have Husk et al.[12] 

Pilkington et al have recently reviewed the literature for the benefits of social prescribing for type 2 diabetes. The studies do not prove that SP is effective for this group.[13]

Kilgariff – Foster and O’Cathain’s review found qualitative evidence for improved health and reduced service use, but this was supported by only one quantitative study. [14]

Dr Peter Cawston has written a short piece on why primary care patients will benefit from social prescriptions with 6 recommendations for how to make social prescribing work for primary care (on behalf of the Deep end Steering Group.[15]