Social Prescribing tackles primary care problems in a unique way and it helps patients transform their lives. The big problem that we tolerate is spending a big chunk of the NHS budget on GP services when 20% of the service, at the very least, is not effective. Doctors report that 20% or more of their time is spent on non-medical problems that they can do nothing about. On top of this wastage many medical issues have causes beyond the reach of medicine adding to the list of “heart sink patients” that doctors have to contend with. Social Prescribing offers a proven and unique solution when it is put in place effectively. It directs patients to a large suite of activities – social meeting, exercise, money advice, leisure activities, befriending, other therapies and more – activities and specialist help that can meet the patients’ needs and save the NHS money. It also consistently provides good preventative value, deferring or preventing the use of costly urgent care. Social prescribing develops the market of support and care in the community and the third sector by creating bespoke solutions for patients with the most effective activities rising to the top of the list of commissioned activities.
See this case-making report that describes this growing model of care taking examples from different part of the country and making the case for social prescribing in one area (Crawley in West Sussex). Following a successful pilot ‘Prescription Plus’ has been newly commissioned and funded to work across Crawley. Also do look at the work of the Social Prescribing Network.