Our health services have reached a crossroads. Despite the resources that are being committed, long-term disease is increasing, and GP services are being placed under increasing pressure.
Research shows that not every visit to the GP requires a medical prescription. In recent years, a solution has been identified that focuses on preventing people getting diseases and helping them recover quicker. Often it lies in how people lead their lives – finding ways to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
This might involve health and care professionals referring patients to a range of practical, social and emotional support, such as exercise classes or social groups. This approach is known as social prescribing.
Institute for Social Prescribing
Against this backdrop, the ‘pop-up’ Institute for Social Prescribing was formed in 2019 to accelerate the spread and adoption of social prescribing across the region, operating until June 2021.
The Institute was a collaboration between the South West AHSN, public health consultant Professor Sir Muir Gray, NHS England National Clinical Lead for social prescribing Dr Michael Dixon and a range of leading practitioners in the field.
As part of its remit, the Institute worked with a set of ‘test beds’ across the South West to research, evaluate, support and spread innovative practice.
Social Prescribing Insight Report
The South West AHSN also produced a comprehensive insight report, which focused on the work of the Institute for Social Prescribing in the year up to September 2020.
As well as featuring the five test-bed case studies, the document shares learning about the conditions which enable social prescribing to take place. It also identifies a set of eight commonalities – referred to as ‘building blocks’ – which can be applied to accelerate the impact and spread of social prescribing programmes.
If you have questions about the Institute for Social Prescribing, which operated between 2019 and 2021, please contact us.