These activities can include art, gardening, leisure activities and singing classes. Social prescribing is helping tackle the root cause of many health and wellbeing issues and helping people live the best lives they can. For some, social prescribing provides an alternative to medications and for others it works alongside it.
The role is relatively new and came about thanks to studies performed that showed that many appointments within a surgery were about non-clinical issues. Health is more than the absence of harm to your body; social prescribing seeks to be part of proving an integrated and holistic approach to healthcare. Someone who may benefit from talking to a social prescriber may have complex social needs and/or conditions which affect their wellbeing.
A social prescriber discusses the situation, assesses, and then advises the individual of support available in the community. It is possible to talk to a social prescriber about any non-medical issue. Social prescribing can help change the circumstances that can make people unwell. It can empower people to manage existing health problems, to get the right benefits or get back into employment. It can help people to connect and to grow in confidence.
A social prescriber will work to;
- build relationships with individuals they are helping
- create personalised plans to help improve an individual’s life
- connect people with local community and voluntary groups
There are currently no formal requirements to be a social prescriber. Employers may ask for evidence of basic numeracy and literacy as well as IT skills but the focus is on the candidate’s experience and behaviour.
Personal qualities and values are seen as more important coupled with work experience that shows you are a right fit for the role and the practice team.
Training and development are provided within the role.