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Social prescribing

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Social prescribing enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.

It is estimated that around 20% of GP appointments are for ‘non-medical’ needs, which is as frustrating for GPs as it is for patients, as a 10-minute consultation producing a medicine prescription is often not appropriate.

Social prescribing enables a GP or other healthcare professional to refer the patient to an organised scheme which usually involves link workers or navigators taking time to understand what the patients’ needs and goals are, and helps them to access an appropriate service. Those services are most commonly provided by local voluntary organisations.

Evidence base

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that social prescribing is effective for patients, but also produces significant cost benefits to the NHS and other public bodies. Read the review of evidence (pdf, 292KB) by the University of Westminster, 2017.

Join the network

Anyone with an interest in social prescribing as a commissioner, policy maker or practitioner can join the network by emailing

Also, voluntary sector colleagues can contact us to receive occasional email updates. 

More information

Page last edited Oct 25, 2018

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