Social Prescribing is a means of enabling GPs and other frontline healthcare professionals to refer patients to a link worker – to provide them with a face to face conversation during which they can learn about the possibilities and design their own personalised solutions, i.e. ‘co-produce’ their ‘social prescription’- so that people with social, emotional or practical needs are empowered to find solutions which will improve their health and wellbeing, often using services provided by the voluntary and community sector. It is an innovative and growing movement, with the potential to reduce the financial burden on the NHS and particularly on primary care.
WHAT IS THE NETWORK?
The Social Prescribing Network consists of health professionals, researchers, academics, social prescribing practitioners, representatives from the community and voluntary sector, commissioners and funders, patients and citizens. We are working together to share knowledge and best practice, to support social prescribing at a local and national levels and to inform good quality research and evaluation. Over the past year, we have worked with many different organisations to launch International Social Prescribing Day and The Social Prescribing Network Awards.
WHAT DO WE DO?
RESEARCH & EVALUATION
Understanding the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of social prescribing is really important to us. Supporting good quality research and evaluation will tell us what is working well and what could be done better. We provide strategic advice and support to funding bodies, we help researchers to find participants for their social prescribing research and we disseminate the latest research in our newsletters. Ultimately we support the need to put people at the heart of social prescribing research and evaluation.
SUPPORTING PEOPLE RUNNING SOCIAL PRESCRIBING SCHEMES
Successful social prescribing schemes are locally designed to suit the people they are aimed at. This means embedding core principles into the design, as opposed to using one standardised model. We will support stakeholders as much as we can to understand how to get started. We will endeavour to connect you with people in your region that are already active with social prescribing so you can find out what is already happening and connect on a more local level. We also try to support as many events and conferences, providing speakers who may have expertise in a particular aspect of social prescribing.
CONFERENCES & COLLABORATIONS
Bringing people together is the heart of the Social Prescribing Network. We love the buzz when passionate people come together to share their expertise and knowledge. As so many different stakeholder groups are necessary to make social prescribing happen, learning from each other and understanding different points of view becomes essential. Generally, each regional network hosts 1-2 conferences a year. The Social Prescribing Network also aims to provide two international conferences each year. One is a very practical based conference picking up the key areas to discuss as social prescribing spreads and evolves. The second one is a research-specific conference, to critically examine the data.
To share the cost of the conferences we need to collaborate with organisations. If you want to collaborate on a conference with us, then please contact us.