Leading researchers in the field of social prescribing are being brought together to ensure that evidence of the impact of social prescribing is accessible, useful and compelling, the National Academy for Social Prescribing has announced today.

As outlined in the Academy’s Strategic Plan, A Social Revolution in Wellbeing, there is a large and growing evidence base supporting the benefits of social prescribing for people’s health and wellbeing, however it is not comprehensive nor always easy to access. This poses an obstacle to the future growth of social prescribing at a time when demand is growing, especially to support those most impacted by COVID-19.

To address this, the establishment of new academic partnership for social prescribing has been announced today by the National Academy for Social Prescribing, bringing together a collaborative of some of the leading researchers in this field to help build an evidence base that is more accessible, useful and compelling.

The academic partnership and the Academy will work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other partners, to share existing evidence more effectively, and with focus on outcomes for people, local systems and communities. It will be led by the University of Plymouth’s National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula and includes: The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care,  University of Oxford; University of East London; Sheffield Hallam University; The Social Prescribing Network;  University of the West of England; and University College London and the National Centre for Creative Health.

The Academic Partnership will:

  • establish a stakeholder group to inform this evidence work,  welcoming interest from across the social prescribing pathway, both UK and internationally.
  • work with stakeholders to prioritise where access to evidence would help social prescribing to thrive. Once these priorities are agreed, the team will:
    • start to bring existing evidence together into a compelling and accessible online resource. This will include new evidence summaries in key areas.
    • identify a roadmap of future research and evidence that is need to support the development of social prescribing policy, practice and research.

The programme will run from February 2021 and report by autumn 2021.

Commenting, Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing said:

“We are all really excited to start this work –  making it easier for social prescribing link workers, health practitioners, decision makers and the people we care for, to find the high quality information and evidence needed to make informed choices. This is a vital step forward in underpinning the National Academy for Social Prescribing’s ambitions to help social prescribing thrive”.

If you are interested in being part of the stakeholder group, contact NaspReviewTeam@plymouth.ac.uk