08/02/2021 Academic partnership will boost evidence for social prescribing

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

A man speaking with his counsellor looking thoughtful holding a cup of tea
Exploring the evidence on social prescribing

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.

To address this, a new academic partnership for social prescribing has been established, bringing together a collaborative of some of the leading researchers in the field to help shore up the evidence base.

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

The 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 needed to support the development of social prescribing policy, practice and research.

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

“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."
Helen Stokes-Lampard
Chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing

Pen ARC refers to the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration for the South West Peninsula


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