About

What is Social Prescribing?

Social prescribing is a means of enabling professionals (often healthcare practitioners) to refer people to non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing.  A key component of social prescribing is link workers who are specially trained to support people in identifying what matters to them and designing their own personalised solutions to help with social, emotional or practical needs to improve their health and wellbeing.  This often utilises voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise services such as choirs, gardening clubs, exercises classes, art groups and many more.

There is an ever-growing body of evidence supporting the impact social prescribing has on people's lives as well as its impact on reducing costs and workloads within health and social care.

About the Social Prescribing Network

Where does the Social Prescribing Network fit in?

The Social Prescribing Network has been a key organisation in leading this social movement around the use of non-medical activities to support health and wellness working alongside stakeholders to have social prescribing adopted by NHS England and internationally.

We continue to push social prescribing forward by publishing and supporting research, hosting conferences, awards and acting as a central hub for information.  We also host the Evidence Collaborative for the National Academy of Social Prescribing.

One of our key roles is to disseminate information about social prescribing. You can view our newsletter archive here and find out more about our research databases here.

The Social Prescribing Network was founded in October 2015 by Dr. Marie Polley and Dr. Michael Dixon.  Below you can learn a little more about our history to date.

Oct-15

Dr Marie Polley and Dr Michael Dixon et al. awarded Wellcome Trust grant to develop the concepts of health creation

Oct-15

Jan-16

First Social Prescribing Network conference brought together people from different sectors who were innovating social prescribing to support people's unmet needs. 10 actions and a definition of social prescribing were co-produced, the conference hosted 94 delegates and was sold out

Mar-16

The Report of the National Social Prescribing Network Conference was launched with cross-party support at the Palace of Westminster

Mar-16

Apr-16

Social Prescribing was listed as a top ten action for GPs in the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View

Mar-17

Social Prescribing Network collaborated with the King's Fund who hosted Social Prescribing: from rhetoric to reality. HRH Prince of Wales attended and the conference was sold out.

Mar-17

Jun-17

Polley et al. release the first national guidance on social prescribing - Making Sense of Social Prescribing, and a review of the evidence assessing the impact of social prescribing on healthcare demand and cost implications. Both commissioned by NHS England

May-18

1st International Social Prescribing Network research conference hosted by the University of Salford brought together all social prescribing researchers for the first time to share knowledge, expertise and review research priorities. The conference was sold out.

May-18

Nov-18

Social Prescribing Network collaborated with the King's Fund to host Social Prescribing: coming of age. The conference was attended by Rt Hon Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and was sold out.

Nov-18

A National rollout of social prescribing by the NHS was announced by Prime Minister Teresa May in the policy document A connected Society A strategy for tackling loneliness

Nov-18

Jan-19

Details of the NHS social prescribing rollout were documented in The NHS Long Term Plan.

Apr-19

Social Prescribing became a requirement within the GP contract

Apr-19

Jul-19

2nd International Social Prescribing Network Conference, Social Prescribing from system to local was hosted at the University of Westminster. The conference hosted 350 delegates and was sold out

Jul-19

The first Social Prescribing Network Awards were hosted during the conference to acknowledge and celebrate the work of everyone in social prescribing.

Jul-19

Mar-21

The 3rd International Social Prescribing Network Conference was held virtually with over 1000 delegates across the world

Mar-22

The 4th International Social Prescribing Network Conference held virtually

Mar-22