Changing the conversation about health

Student doctors need to push for better education on social prescribing

Bogdan Chiva Giurca, Social Prescribing Student Lead and a medical student at Exeter Medical School, believes the new generation of medics must engage now with social prescribing to help build a more sustainable future for the NHS…  

The importance of social prescribing has been illustrated by the GP Forward View, published in 2016, as well as by the NHS Five Year Forward View.

It is our responsibility as medical students to stand up and seek ways to promote this concept among our colleagues and to work together to provide evidence supporting its introduction into the undergraduate and postgraduate medical school curriculum.

Social Prescribing within the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical School Curriculum – Read the official report 2017 in full here

The National Social Prescribing Student Champion Scheme has been created to enable medical students – the generation of today, and the future doctors of tomorrow – to get involved in learning about, teaching, and promoting social prescribing within their region

Bogdan Chiva Giurca, Social Prescribing Student Lead

With the number of patients increasing every day, healthcare professionals work tirelessly to do their best for their patients under ever increasing workloads.

Medical students represent an untapped asset that can build the foundation of a brighter future.

In the past, the medical school curriculum has been established with little involvement from medical students.

I am hoping that we, medical students, can stand up and request to be taught concepts that will be key to our future practice.

The new perspective, fresh eyes, and fresh ideas brought by medical students have the potential to brighten the future of Primary Care within the NHS.


Purpose and aim of Social Prescribing within the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical School Report:

This report aims to use current findings to set the vision for the future of social prescribing within the undergraduate medical school curriculum.

The need to formally integrate social prescribing within the UK medical school undergraduate curriculum has been explored in this report by involving three important groups of people:

1. Medical students

2. Those who have taught / are teaching Medical Students about Social Prescribing

3. Healthcare Leaders and Social Prescribing Advocates

Interviews, informal discussions, surveys, and focus groups were used during August and September 2017 to create this report.

Current issues and needs:

1. Most medical students are unaware of social prescribing, but are enthusiastic to find out more about it.

2. Early clarification of social prescribing during undergraduate training could better equip the doctors of tomorrow.

3. Several medical schools have started adding social prescribing to various modules, although these are optional and only available to a small group of students.

Vision for the future: The National Social Prescribing Student Champion Scheme

Next steps to be taken as a priority include:

1. Expanding the student champion scheme to all medical schools within the UK to create a national community of medical students sharing experiences and ideas regarding the use of social prescribing within their future practice

2. Finding out how many medical schools within the UK (other than the ones already discovered through this report) teach anything related to social prescribing to their students and through what means and style.

3. Peer learning and teaching: Introducing social prescribing in every single medical school within the UK through the newly developed national student scheme

4. Developing a better understanding of medical students’ perception on social prescribing teaching and regarding the concept itself at a national level

5. Implementation of findings to facilitate formal introduction of Social Prescribing within the UK undergraduate medical school curriculum

Social prescribing within the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical School Curriculum – Read the official report 2017 in full here