Social prescribing, the future for health and wellbeing #SocialPrescribing19

Posted on 4th March 2019 by

You might have heard of social prescribing in the news recently – such as this article from BBC Health – but do you know what it means?

People doing social and healthy activities

In January 2019, NHS England announced that it would fund 1,000 social prescribing workers to ease the workload of GPs and improve people’s health and wellbeing. This has caused a buzz around social prescribing, but while it has become more widely known it’s still important to explain the term. Let’s break it down!

Social comes from society – a ‘social gathering’ is where people come together, your ‘social life’ is where you meet other people or do things in your community that you enjoy.

Prescribing is when a doctor advises or recommends you to take a medicine or treatment to help you feel better.

So social prescribing recommends things in your community that can help you feel better, such as groups, activities or services. Suggestions might include befriending, social or arts groups, volunteering, exercise, gardening, cooking and healthy eating, learning new things, and advice around a range of subjects like benefits – but it all depends on what you want and need. Medicine is one way to help you feel healthy and well, and social prescribing can suggest other non-medical options.

Social prescribing will be a big part of the future of health services and voluntary organisations – it has a key role in improving people’s health and wellbeing by linking them into community groups and services that are relevant to their needs and interests.

This week, Brighton and Hove Impetus are hosting Brighton’s first conference to consider the role and future of social prescribing for people in the city. We’ll look at the impact of the Community Navigation service running across Brighton and Hove, the services and activities people are referred onto, and what it means for them, their communities and the healthcare professionals who support them.

There will be speakers from Impetus, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health, NHS England, Community Works, and The Bromley by Bow Centre in East London – one of the early pioneers of social prescribing.

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