4 min read

Social prescribing

Sarah Jane Palmer - Author First published:


Social prescribing refers to non-pharmaceutical approaches to treatment and care. Social prescribing was formerly known as ‘community referral’, enabling health professionals to refer patients to a range of local non-clinical services (King’s Fund, 2020). These referrals occur mainly within primary care settings, although these may also benefit patients who are being discharged from hospital. The key to providing this type of care is recognising that health and wellbeing are determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, a holistic combination that social prescribing seeks to address (King’s Fund, 2020). Social prescribing is one of the 10 high-impact actions in the GP Forward View and now forms part of the 10-year NHS Plan (NHS, 2019).

Multiple lifestyle factors contribute to the development of chronic health conditions. For example, obesity is a common issue, contributing to the development of various conditions, including:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • vascular dementia

Social prescribing

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Sarah Jane Palmer

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