A social prescription for London
The Mayor has put social prescribing at the heart of his new Health Inequalities Strategy. A fifth of visits to GPs turn out to be for non-medical issues like loneliness and isolation. Social prescribing is a way of doctors putting people in touch with community services and groups that can foster solutions without medication such as walks with dogs or social activities.
What benefits could boosting social prescribing in London have, and how will the Mayor achieve his ambition to make it available for the most disadvantaged Londoners?
People’s health and their ability to manage it are influenced by a wide range of factors including employment, housing, debt, social networks and culture, which have been estimated to account for up to 85 per cent of the determinants of an individual’s health status.
Social prescribing links patients with sources of support within the community. It provides GPs with a non-medical referral option that can operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing. Example of social prescriptions could include physical activity or exercise classes, gardening, arts on prescription, educational classes, debt advice, volunteering or peer support.
The London Assembly Health Committee is launching an investigation into the Mayor’s plans to make social prescribing a more routine element of healthcare in London.
Key questions include:
- What types of issues/conditions can be more effectively tackled through social prescribing?
- Do people (patients and clinicians) understand and have confidence in social prescribing?
- What benefits would increasing social prescribing have for Londoners? What are the barriers to achieving this?
The committee is calling for views and information from organisations and individuals. Please get in touch using [email protected]