Healthy communities: What is ‘social prescribing’?
- 30 September 2019
- Posted by: Helen Nicol
- Category: News
Published by Apolitical.co
Despite its medical connotations, social prescribing is a non-medical approach where health professionals refer patients to support in the community, in order to improve their health and wellbeing.
Becoming more popular in the UK, and relatively widespread in Canada and Denmark, the benefits of social prescribing are identified as being gained as much from the social aspect of recommended activities as the activities themselves. Social prescribing can put pressure on community based service providers delivering the types of services being “prescribed”, often without an increase in funding or capacity to help such groups cope with additional demand. And with multiple variables affecting the outcome of these types of approaches, there have been concerns about evidence for their effectiveness.
That said, there is considerable support for the concept of social prescribing, including the acknowledgement that it appears to be an effective alternative to more invasive and often more expensive medical interventions.