Patient Outcomes in Health Research Group


Social Prescribing Network

social prescribing network

What is Social Prescribing?

Social Prescribing is a means of enabling GPs and other frontline healthcare professionals to refer patients to a link worker. This provides them with a face-to-face conversation during which they can learn about opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing.  People with social, emotional or practical needs are empowered to find and design their own personal solutions, i.e. ‘co-produce’ their ‘social prescription’, often using services provided by the voluntary and community sector. It is an innovative and growing movement, with the potential to reduce the financial burden on the NHS, particularly within primary care.

What is the Social Prescribing Network

The Social Prescribing Network consists of health professionals, researchers, academics, social prescribing practitioners, representatives from the community and voluntary sector, commissioners and funders, patients and citizens. We are working together to share knowledge and best practice, to support social prescribing at a local and national levels and to inform good quality research and evaluation. Over the past year we have been setting up regional networks around England and Ireland. 

If you would like information on social prescribing schemes in your area, please contact the regional leads as listed below:

Developing resources for the network

We have 2 key documents to help people commissioning, running and evaluating social prescribing schemes.

Making sense of social prescribing

This is a new document which covers various aspects including - What is social prescribing; why do social prescribing; what do different models look like; what makes a good link worker; what makes a good referral; governance and risk management; evaluation

A review of the evidence assessing impact of social prescribing to healthcare demand and cost implications

This piece of work has critically appraised the current data that is available on healthcare demand and social prescribing and cost implications. We hope that it will be of use to a range of stakeholders as you continue to write business cases and strategically plan to implement or scale up social prescribing.

News and events

Aesop Arts and Society 'National Arts in Health Conference and Showcase

Aesop Arts and Society 'National Arts in Health Conference and Showcase' is an event for health decision makers with a focus on how the arts can contribute to current health priorities.   Taking place on the 19th of April at the at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, further information and tickets can be accessed here

Our regional events continue to be a huge success with a great mix of people, energy and ideas. They also book up incredibly quickly.  We aim to keep organising the events so we can share the learning from one region to the next.   It is also helps us to hear what the challenges and issues are on the ground.  

The events in England are a collaboration with NHS England who are very kindly supporting the cost of the venue and catering. The social prescribing network members then help to organise the events, the content and get the speakers (for free).  The collaboration allows us to offer the events for free.  So thank you to NHS England for continuing to work with us on this.

Both the Midlands and South West Regional meetings are fully booked.  If you are no longer able to attend, please contact Phoebe Jones on [email protected] so we can utilise the space for our waiting list.

Midlands Regional Social Prescribing Network meeting

The Midlands Regional Social Prescribing Network meeting takes place in Birmingham on 1st February 2018.

Further information and book a place.

South West Regional Social Prescribing Network

The South West Regional Social Prescribing Network meeting in collaboration with the Campaign to End Loneliness.  This will be held on the 13th February, at the Watershed in Bristol.

View the registration page.

Social Prescribing Network Ireland - save the date.

The next regional meeting will be in Dublin on Thursday, March 8th 2018 at the Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing at St James' Hospital in Dublin. Times to be confirmed but it will likely be an all day event (from 10:30 to 3:30 or thereabouts).
Please email [email protected] to register your interest.

Social Prescribing Hour @SocialPresHour

You are invited to join a dedicated conversation to social prescribing on Twitter, every Wednesday, 8-9pm GMT. We currently have 600 followers that consist of CCGs, Clinical Leads for Social Prescribing, VCSEs and Housing Associations and LAs - discussing key themes, news and topics around social prescribing. The weekly @SocialPresHour will be hosted by a range of thought leaders throughout 2018.

Join the conversation every Wednesday 8-9pm. #socialpreshou

Social Prescribing Network newsletters

The first Social Prescribing conference

Our inaugural conference which took place at the Park Crescent Conference Centre in London in January 2016 was attended by 96 delegates representing a variety of stakeholders with experience of pioneering social prescribing in their local area. The conference was the first forum to bring this knowledge and expertise together from over the UK. The report from the conference was launched in the Houses of Parliament on 9 March 2016.

Download the report

What next?

Following extensive discussions from the inaugural conference, here are some of the goals we are working towards:

  • Expanding and consolidating the Social Prescribing Network, to drive local and national discussions on embedding social prescribing in the NHS
  • Facilitating regional events to understand your experiences as well as how to better support members
  • Translating the core principles of social prescribing into a framework for commissioning as well as standards to support quality of social prescribing delivered nationally
  • Understanding the range of benefits of social prescribing, and working to develop better ways of researching and evaluating social prescribing
  • Ensuring we have a process for ensuring patient and citizen involvement in all of our discussions

The steering committee

The members of the Steering Group are made up of a range of stakeholders.

Contact us

If you join the Social Prescription Network we will add you to our mailing list for news and upcoming events. Please email us on [email protected].

UoW wellcome trust and college of medicine logos

Delegates at a conference

Social Prescribing Network Research Conference

First International Social Prescribing Network Research Conference


Catherine Hayhurst - Social Prescribing Network

Social Prescribing Network videos

A selection of short films to introduce social prescribing, what people think, who it can reach, and what is already happening.

social prescribing network conference

Steering committee

Read biographies for the Social Prescribing Network Steering Committee Group

Contact us

Staff contact information