The NHS Social Prescribing Champions Programme was launched in the Spring of 2022. It is a new programme, hosted by the National Academy for Social Prescribing with funding from NHS England.
Social prescribing champions are NHS staff members in England (clinical and non-clinical) working across community, primary, and secondary care to raise awareness of social prescribing within their workplace or profession.
They support social prescribing link workers, consistency of messaging, and ensure busy practitioners consider social, emotional and practical support needs alongside biomedical interventions for patients.
A multimodal approach was adopted for evaluating the programme, with the aim of providing a comprehensive view of its quality and outcomes.
Four areas were studied:
- Impact of the programme
The level of detail captured in the evaluation makes it easier to develop lessons for the future and asses the value of the programmes first year.
Some key findings were:
- Champions reported personal development successes including; improved morale, increased confidence to act and improved local connections
- 96% of champions reported a significant impact in their efficacy in the role as a result of the workshops they attended as part of the programme
- Champions reported a range of actions taken as a result of their involvement in the programme including; changing their personal practice, connecting to link workers and service redesign to increase the use of social prescribing
Additional comments from champions on the impact of the programme were also provided:
“As a long serving NHS professional, it has been refreshing to take part in the Champions Programme as it signals a return to the type of healthcare that we used to be able to provide back in the day!”
“Sense of purpose, and shared vision, with like-minded individuals.”
“The resources and change agents training that I have been able to access have been fantastic and I am championing social prescribing within our practice.”