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An Investigation into GPs and Social Prescribing. A Pilot Study

Date: May 2007
Category: Report
Work programme: Health related services - tackling inequalities
Author: Jan Swift

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Social prescribing is a method of impacting on the wider determinants of health such as the social, economic and environmental factors, through linking people with health problems to non-medical sources of help and support in the community, usually referral by primary care.
Findings of this study included:

  • The GPs generally took a holistic view of health and supported a social model of health. 
  • Referral was the preferred term and this was perceived as a written referral to a social programme, with the responsibility for contacting the patient and giving feedback residing with the organisation
  • The range of organisations referred to was quite limited and GPs favoured those with a statutory service input- health or social work. 
  • The GPs felt their level of knowledge of social programmes was limited. 
  • The GPs duty of care was paramount in whether or not a social programme was viewed as trustworthy to benefit the patient and not harm them. 
  • GPs tended to prefer that patients could self-refer and generally did not see their gate-keeping role as useful to patients.