The Health and Social Care Committee has published Prevention in health and social care: healthy places. The report highlights the role that social prescribing can play in supporting people to live healthier lives, and recommends the creation of the national social prescribing strategy.
The report states that “Increased use of social prescribing can both relieve pressure on clinical pathways and protect good health through enhancing people’s connections with, and ability to participate in activities in their local communities—particularly for people who often lack resources to access these activities independently.”
We welcome the Committee’s report, which recognises the important role that social prescribing can play in preventing health problems from developing and escalating. We strongly agree that there is a need to build understanding among clinicians about how social prescribing works in practice and what it can offer, and this is something we have been prioritising. The report also rightly highlights the value of increasing the scale of social prescribing for children and young people, and the need to reduce inequalities in referrals.
Other areas that could be included in a potential national strategy include: link worker recruitment and retention, shared investment funding for organisations delivering social prescribing activities, improved data, establishing a world-class training programme for the workforce, and prioritising prevention through ‘upstream’ programmes in communities.