By Niamh Lennox-Chhugani and Malcolm Bray
This article is a repost and first appeared on the Optimity Advisors website in November 2018. The first question to consider is why would we want to introduce social prescribing into local health care systems in the first place? On the face of it there appears to be a simple answer - of course we should mainstream social prescribing (or non-medical referrals by General Practitioners that support health and well-being). It provides patients with a more holistic offer by combining traditional health care services with services that can help people with a wide range of social issues. The evidence tells us if these are not tackled they can contribute to poor health and wellbeing. There is a compelling case for primary care to invest in social prescribing as around 20% of patients see their GP for a social rather than medical problem. NHS England has published their ten high impact change recommendations; one of which is social prescribing.
So why has the development of social prescribing been so challenging?