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Social prescribing

Image: Older woman in discusion with health care professional

Social prescribing allows GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services in addition to appropriate medical care.

It aims to address people’s needs in a holistic way and also help support individuals to take greater control of their own health.

Social prescribing schemes can involve a variety of activities provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of physical activities.

There are many different models for social prescribing, but most involve a link worker or navigator who works with people to access local sources of support.

Among some of the Integrated Care Partnership initiatives are:

A recent King’s Fund conference in London, “Social Prescribing: Coming of Age”, explored the ways in which social prescribing can be implemented and sustained.  Among those who highlighted their work was Tony Doherty, chair of the Western ICP’s Northern sector committee who has spearheaded developments in Northern Ireland.

A regional social prescribing workshop will be held on Wednesday 16 January in Craigavon Civic Centre to provide an opportunity to share learning from the different approaches underway. If you would like more information or to register contact: integratedcarepartnerships@hscni.net