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Social prescribing: a review of the evidence

Author(s)

KINSELLA Sarah

Publisher(s):

Wirral Borough Council

Publication year:

2016

A brief review of the literature on social prescribing. Social prescribing is a way of linking primary care patients with psycho-social issues, with sources of appropriate, non-medical support in the community. Suitable referrals to social prescribing initiatives are vulnerable and at risk groups such as: people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety; low income single parents; recently bereaved older people; people with long term conditions and frequent attendees in primary and secondary care. The review highlights that prescribed activities have typically included arts and creative activities, physical activity, learning and volunteering opportunities and courses, self-care and support with practical issues such as benefits, housing, debt and employment. The evidence on the impact of social prescribing is currently limited and inconsistent. While some initiatives have shown improved outcomes for patients and potential for cost-savings (in the longer term), few have been subject to economic analysis or the kind of rigorous evaluation which would inform commissioners. The report recommends that any new, local social prescribing initiatives should aim to add to the current evidence base and conduct transparent and thorough. (Edited publisher abstract)


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