One’s health is affected by more than just physical harm to the body. Factors such as stress, unemployment, debt, loneliness, lack of education and support in early childhood, insecure housing and discrimination can affect 30-55% of our health outcomes. This is why the concept of ‘social prescribing’ has been introduced by the NHS to provide an integrated and holistic approach to healthcare.
In the UK, one in five GP appointments is related to wider social needs rather than medical issues. Social prescribers (also called social prescribing link workers) work together with GP practices to ensure that the wider needs of patients are addressed. They connect patients to groups, activities and services in their communities to meet their social, emotional and practical needs that affect their health and wellbeing. They are the bridge between your GP and all the non-healthcare services available in your community.
Any member of your GP practice team may suggest a referral to a social prescriber. A social prescriber will then have an appointment with you to discuss your situation, assess your needs and advise you of support available in your community. You can talk to your social prescriber about any non-medical issue including debt, loneliness, education, discrimination etc. and they will be able to link you to the right services to support you.
Whatever you’re facing, you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself.