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Green Social Prescribing - expand, promote and measure

The government has just announced an additional £12.7 million to be used for Green Social Prescribing *. Social prescribing adds non-medical interventions to the treatments that GPs more commonly prescribe. It lets GPs provide funding for patients to take part in a variety of social activities. For example, social prescribing may include physical activity,  therapy, or for other activities such as art lessons**. 

The funding announced this week is to be deployed in 11 areas and specifically targets Green Social Prescribing - increasing active mobility such as walking, cycling and wheeling. The idea has been around for some time with £5.77 million allocated back in 2020 for five “test and learn” projects***. One of these “Test and Learn” pilots took place in Surrey, where the County Council and Heartlands NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) used Commonplace to scope local provisions for social prescribing.


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Surrey Green Prescribing

The Surrey Green Social Prescribing Commonplace was used to map supply – identifying relevant organisations and initiatives that GPs can direct patients to. Surrey used a Commonplace map and this attracted almost 3,500 visitors who then made 320 contributions. The image below demonstrates how organisations are able to put themselves forward:

Surrey green social prescribing

 

What this pilot tells us

Social prescribing offers some brilliant opportunities to, not only to improve the well-being of individuals, but also to strengthen local social connections and community organisations. In essence, the funding for GP prescribing can create demand and provide extra resources for local organisations and providers.

Online tools (such as Commonplace) have demonstrated that they can be highly effective for mapping the potential supply – organisations can come forward and offer their services as social providers to the Green Social Prescribing scheme. At the same time, the website can raise awareness of the social prescribing scheme and enable the local authority and CCG to see if there are areas of low response, indicating a pro-active local approach may be needed.

Building on this, Commonplace can be used to publicise local social-prescribed activities so that patients can build a picture of what they might be able to discuss with their GPs. As the scheme rolls out, Commonplace can also be used to obtain feedback – possibly using Commonplace Select where the public comments are not visible to all, so that candid feedback can be gathered in more specific ways. For example, to protect more vulnerable groups, to re-invite those who have not yet contributed or to create an environment where it is easier to discuss sensitive topics. Health and well-being can be a personal topic for many, so adding this layer of privacy can reassure potential commenters.  

The present scheme is focused mainly on active mobility. For this, Commonplace can also be used to capture participants’ experience of local routes along which they walk, cycle and wheel. As participants experience more of their local environments through active mobility they can also contribute to shaping the future of their local communities. Who knows what people may discover as they move around?

There is also the opportunity to add an FAQ section to cover common queries about green social prescribing. Common questions include:

  • What is green social prescribing?
  • How do people qualify for a green prescription?
  • What qualifies as social prescribing? 

 

You can give answers yourself or link to relevant resources like GP pages and governmental articles. 

 


We are excited to be part of the way people’s well-being is being framed in the context of the community alongside medical provisions. Contact us to discuss how we can help develop and evaluate your local social prescribing opportunities.

 

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Sources: 

* Government announcement of funding - August 2022 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/walking-wheeling-and-cycling-to-be-offered-on-prescription-in-nationwide-trial
** For general information about Social Subscribing, visit the website of the National Academy for Social Prescribing - https://socialprescribingacademy.org.uk/
*** The government announcement that includes the Surrey Heartlands Green Social prescribing trial - December 2020 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-sites-to-test-how-connecting-people-with-nature-can-improve-mental-health




David Janner-Klausner

David Janner-Klausner

Co-founder & Deputy CEO

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