Changing the conversation about health

‘Link workers are bringers of hope’: Social prescribing features on BBC One’s Countryfile

Social Prescribing featured on BBC One’s Countryfile this weekend, with presenter Anita Rani meeting Dr Marie Polley to discuss finding solutions to problems without medical intervention.

Anita joined Dr Polley, who is co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network, to discuss the benefits of nature and the great outdoors on health, while enjoying a rain-soaked walk in Broxbourne Woods in Hertfordshire.

Let’s go for a little walk! BBC Countryfile presenter Anita Rani meets Dr Marie Polley, co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network, to discuss social prescribing, while strolling in Broxbourne Woods in Hertfordshire (Picture credit: Dr Marie Polley)
During their walk, Dr Polley explained how link workers can ease pressure on the NHS, calling them ‘bringers of hope’ (Picture credit: BBC One/Countryfile)

Dr Polley explained how social prescribing works, saying: “It’s a way of really easing the pressure of the NHS.

“Probably around 20 per cent of people who go and visit a GP don’t have directly medical needs, they don’t necessarily need a pharmaceutical drug prescribed – but they do need support.”


She also explained the role of the link worker, calling them ‘bringers of hope’ because they often have more time than a GP to sit and ‘unpack the complex situation that’s happening’.

The presenter and the GP also chatted about the power of ‘green prescribing’, which connects people through nature projects, gardening clubs and getting outdoors in the fresh air to walk or hike.

By 2023, it’s hoped some 900,000 people in the UK will be able to access a link worker (Picture credit: BBC One/Countryfile)

Dr Polley explained: ‘You’ve with people who have shared interests so you naturally make connections’ adding that walking in woodland is like ‘literally getting a dose of nature’.

By 2023, it’s hoped that around 900,000 people be referred to a link worker for social prescribing, cutting pressure on health services by 20 per cent. Long-term, it’s estimated that social prescribing could save the NHS billions.

To watch Dr Polley and Anita Rani discuss the benefits of walking and nature on health on Countryfile, click here and watch from 47 minutes…