The impact of a social prescribing service on patients in primary care: a mixed methods evaluation

Article


Carnes, Dawn, Sohanpal, Ratna, Frostick, C., Hull, Sally, Mathur, Rohini, Netuveli, G., Tong, Jin, Hutt, Patrick and Bertotti, M. 2017. The impact of a social prescribing service on patients in primary care: a mixed methods evaluation. BMC Health Services Research. 17, p. Art. 835.
AuthorsCarnes, Dawn, Sohanpal, Ratna, Frostick, C., Hull, Sally, Mathur, Rohini, Netuveli, G., Tong, Jin, Hutt, Patrick and Bertotti, M.
Abstract

Social prescribing is targeted at isolated and lonely patients. Practitioners and patients jointly develop bespoke well-being plans to promote social integration and or social reactivation. Our aim was to investigate: whether a social prescribing service could be implemented in a general practice (GP) setting and to evaluate its effect on well-being and primary care resource use.
Methods

We used a mixed method evaluation approach using patient surveys with matched control groups and a qualitative interview study. The study was conducted in a mixed socio-economic, multi-ethnic, inner city London borough with socially isolated patients who frequently visited their GP. The intervention was implemented by ‘social prescribing coordinators’. Outcomes of interest were psychological and social well-being and health care resource use.
Results

At 8 months follow-up there were no differences between patients referred to social prescribing and the controls for general health, depression, anxiety and ‘positive and active engagement in life’. Social prescribing patients had high GP consultation rates, which fell in the year following referral. The qualitative study indicated that most patients had a positive experience with social prescribing but the service was not utilised to its full extent.
Conclusion

Changes in general health and well-being following referral were very limited and comprehensive implementation was difficult to optimise. Although GP consultation rates fell, these may have reflected regression to the mean rather than changes related to the intervention. Whether social prescribing can contribute to the health of a nation for social and psychological wellbeing is still to be determined.

JournalBMC Health Services Research
Journal citation17, p. Art. 835
ISSN1472-6963
Year2017
PublisherBMC
Publisher's version
License
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2778-y
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-017-2778-y
Publication dates
Print19 Dec 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Jan 2019
Accepted06 Dec 2017
Accepted06 Dec 2017
FunderCity and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group
City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group
Copyright information© 2017 The authors
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