Social Prescribing is the specialised non-medical prescribing of social interventions to improve health and wellbeing. It involves screening for non-medical needs and referrals to support services that are typically offered by community-based organisations. It has been widely accepted by the NHS across UK and Europe. It is a way for local agencies to refer people to a link worker. Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.
It helps people get more control over their healthcare, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them. It can especially help people who:
- have one or more long-term condition
- need support with their mental health
- are lonely or isolated
- have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
Social prescribing links them to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.
Sue Griffiths, PhD
Sue is an occupational therapist by profession and has spent over 20 years in occupational therapy education. She retired from being the Subject Lead and Principal Lecturer for Occupational Therapy at the University of Northampton in 2017 but continues to do some teaching and development work. From 2019-2021 Sue was involved in setting up and supporting the Social Prescribing Link Worker service for the General Practice Alliance in Northampton which provides services in Primary Care. Sue has considerable experience in professional curriculum development and accreditation in the UK and overseas. She first visited India in 2013 where she encountered the Banyan project which left a lasting, very positive impression on her.
Sue has a master’s degree in Evidence-based Healthcare from Oxford University and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her ongoing research interests are in the therapeutic use of creative activities and sustainable activity in the community.
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