Social prescribing aims to reduce the number of repeat appointments at GP practices, improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable adults who are regular attendees whilst saving time and money for the healthcare system. It does this by providing a way for GP practices to expand the options available to patients, by creating a formal process for GPs to refer patients to non-clinical services like charities or community groups. Our service referred patients to services as varied as:
- Social or lunch clubs
- Self-help groups
- Leisure and sports clubs
- Mental wellbeing groups
- Organisations offering volunteering opportunities
VAL worked with GP Dr Nick Henwood and the Patient Participant Group (PPG) from the Hedges Medical Centre in Eyres Monsell, and the pilot was delivered at Rosebery Medical Centre in Loughborough.
Initially commissioned for 6 months, the pilot scheme ran for over 16 months. During that time:
- 63 patients attended a social prescribing clinic
- 87 patient referrals were made by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire to local voluntary and community sector groups
- The total attendance rate of the project was 67%
- The total referral rate of the project stood at 138% – patients were referred to 1.38 groups on average
- Social prescribing saved Rosebery Medical Centre the equivalent of £4,500 in reduced primary care appointments.
- Social Prescribing has the potential to save the local NHS up to £97,000 from Rosebery Medical Centre alone.
The social prescribing pilot came to an end in September 2016. As yet, no further funding has been provided to continue offering the social prescribing service in Leicester or Leicestershire.
End of project report
Download the Social Prescribing End of Project Report (PDF)