Council meetings

Agenda item

Social prescribing review update


Resolved: the committee noted the report and expressed support for the planned work to build a better understanding of the barriers to social prescribing for GPs.



Fiona Kirkman (Prevention and Early Intervention Lead, Whole System Model of Care) introduced the report. The following key points were noted:


6.1       A report was presented providing an update on the recommendations made by the committee’s in-depth review of social prescribing in 2017/18.

6.2       The NHS long-term plan includes social prescribing as part of a wider personalisation of health and care. There are plans to increase the number of social prescribing link workers nationally to 1,000 and to achieve 900,000 social prescribing contacts.

6.3       Recent analysis by the Royal College of GPs estimated that 59% of GPs with a social prescribing link worker saw a significant reduction in their caseload.

6.4       There are thriving formal and informal social prescribing services in Lewisham. An evaluation of Social Return on Investment (SROI) for the SAIL (Safe and Independent Living) project in Lewisham found that every £1 invested generated a return of nearly £5.

6.5       A National Outcomes Framework for social prescribing is being developed which looks at the impact on the individual, health and care system, and the wider community. The council will be working on ways of collecting this information and data.

6.6       Community Connections and SAIL (Safe and Independent Living) both collect qualitative and quantitative data and are beginning to do more work on outcomes. Community Connections carries out random analysis of feedback on referrals from clients and GPs.

6.7       The council is working with the Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to run a workshop for GPs on social prescribing schemes in the borough and to find out what are the barriers to social prescribing for GPs.

6.8       SAIL is set to be re-launched in April. The SAIL referral form has been simplified further and will be available on EMIS (the electronic patient record system used in primary care) as part of the relaunch.

6.9       The committee suggested that Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a slightly dated methodology and that there might be better tools, such as asset-based community development, for example.

6.10    It was noted that a full Evaluation of the SAIL Project was conducted earlier this year using a Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology, it also included an assessment of social value by including case studies, stories and stakeholder feedback.  The evaluation demonstrates the SAIL model to be highly effective and achieving excellent outcomes for older people in Lewisham

6.11    The committee noted that there are lots of organisations in the borough that would like to be able to take more referrals but do not have the resources to do so. The committee queried what could be done to increase capacity in the social prescribing system to support an increase in referrals.

6.12    Neighbourhood Community Development Partnerships (NCDPs) have been working with partners in their respective neighbourhoods to successfully develop capacity. There are a large number of community assets that could be utilised more effectively – adult learning, for example.

6.13    Analysis has found that there is a large group of people aged 45-60 who may benefit from an early referral to social prescribing services. Lowering the threshold for SAIL (currently 60+) or developing a broader 18+ social prescribing offer are options being considered.

Resolved: the committee noted the report and expressed support for the planned work to build a better understanding of the barriers to social prescribing for GPs.


Supporting documents: