What is social prescribing, why is it important, and what can we do to make it better?

What is social prescribing, why is it important, and what can we do to make it better?

Posted: Tue, 13 Dec 2022 11:52

What is social prescribing, why is it important, and what can we do to make it better?

Social prescribing and community-based support is part of the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to make personalised care business as usual across health and care.

Physical activity is a golden thread of social prescribing it can support with long term health conditions, low mood and anxiety, loneliness and connection to nature. Sometimes although not the primary problem facing a patient with complex needs, physical activity can become one of the solutions to getting them back to positive wellbeing.

What are social prescribers?

Social prescribers connect people to community support for health and wellbeing. They are often based in PCNs or other settings, for example Age UK. They develop trusting relationships with people, starting with what matters to them, building on individual strengths and introducing people to community support.

Recently, a few members of our team brought togethera group of social prescribers who are working across the countyfora fun and informal opportunity to meet other colleagues from health and physical activity settings in Oxfordshire. This was a day for connection, team work, reflection and planning.



We discussed Challenges and opportunities around promoting the role of physical activity through social prescribing and explored together ways to improve connections and provision. It was important for us to understand:

  • What is going well – looking at success stories
  • What barriers are in place in terms of encouraging active lifestyles
  • What areas need improvement

It was a fantastic day and a real team effort led us to realise the key areas for further discussion:

    • Communication across partners and connecting with other social prescribers.
    • Relationships – building relationships with our patients, clients and partners.
    • Workforce – finding a new one potentially with volunteers or finding resources to build a stronger workforce team with more flexibility.

Following the session, we planned our next steps as an organisation and requested feedback from participants to understand what capacity people would like to be involved in this project from the new year.

ImagePersonalised care means people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered. It is an all-age model, from maternity and childhood through to end of life, encompassing both mental and physical health support. This represents a new relationship between people, professionals and the health and care system. It provides a positive shift in power and decision-making that enables people to feel informed, have a voice, be heard and be connected to each other and their communities.

Find out more about social prescribing here

If you have any questions about our role within social prescribing, or are involved in social prescribing and would like to continue the conversation, please do get in touch by emailing Rich: richardclaydon@activeoxfordshire.org

Tags: Active Body, Active Environments, Active Lives, Active Medicine, Social prescribing, active living