A document has been developed to illustrate the way allied health professionals (AHPs) support social prescribing and community referral.
The new social prescribing framework for AHPs was developed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), Public Health England, NHS Improvement and NHS England, alongside AHP professional bodies, which included the SCoR.
Social prescribing recognises the range of social, economic and environmental factors involved in health and seeks to address needs in a holistic way. Holistic care is common practice for AHPs who support the wider factors influencing patients’ health.
The framework is divided into four sections:
Active signposting: a light-touch approach where staff provide information and choice to signpost people to services, using local knowledge and resource directories. This works best for clients who are confident and skilled enough to find their own way to services after a brief conversation.
Referral to a link worker:in cases where a person needs more support than active signposting can provide, it may be appropriate to refer them to non-medical link workers who can provide more time to understand what matters to the individual and connect them to relevant groups for practical and emotional support.
Undertaking social prescribing:AHPs are likely to undertake social prescribing themselves when they are already providing long-term intensive support to a person. It will involve supporting people to work out which local groups and services would be beneficial to them and helping them to access them.
Supporting the development of social prescribing:for example, by providing community groups and services and providing guidance, supervision and training to link workers.
More than 2500 AHPs engaged with the development of this framework, showing the enthusiasm for this agenda amongst the professions; we hope it will support all AHPs to consider how they could do more.