Changing the conversation about health

Social prescribing

Social prescribing is an approach in which health practitioners use local social resources to prescribe beyond the biomedical – for example, signposting a patient to a local exercise class might address both social connectedness and weight or health issues.

Get Involved with International Social Prescribing Day

Having first been held in 2019, this now annual event celebrates social prescribing across the UK and around the world.  Held in March, keep an eye on the College of Medicine website for more details as they’re released nearer the time.

Also keep in touch to find out more about the next Social Prescribing Conference and Social Prescribing awards – an initiative from the Social Prescribing Network, College of Medicine and University of Westminster.

What we are doing

Thanks to a collaboration between the College of Medicine, the University of Westminster and the Wellcome Trust, a Social Prescribing Network has now been established. You can read the latest newsletters here.

We are in touch with some practices running very evolved social prescribing programmes, such as College Council member Dr James Fleming’s Green Dreams programme.

We have also established a National Social Prescribing Student Champion Scheme with help from NHS England, enabling medical students from all over the UK to learn, teach, and to bring concepts such as Social Prescribing to life in their local region and into their future practice. Read more about the scheme and how you can get involved and support our work here.

We have previously reported the need to formally embed Social Prescribing teaching within the national undergraduate medical school curriculum. Read more here.

What you can do

Most health practitioners can add social prescribing to their work – at its simplest, it may just involve a couple of hours research at the local library to see what useful things are happening in your local area.

Take part in the National Social Prescribing student champion scheme

Find out more here.

Take our social prescribing challenge

We are encouraging everyone to make a start on social prescribing. Read Emily Downs experience, and then discover how you can take the social prescribing challenge.

Case study: Ways to Wellness

Ways to Wellness aims to reach 11,000 patients over seven years in a deprived area of Newcastle. Find out more about the innovative programme, and the people it helps.

Aesop/Public Health England Arts & Health framework

Useful guidance for practitioners doing arts work towards health outcomes. Read the Aesop/PHE document here.

You can read about Aesop’s work on Dance to Health, which prevents falls among older people here.

The Work Foundation

The Work Foundation writes here and here about how social prescribing can help people to gain employment.

See a larger version of the graphic here.