Information Now

Social Prescribing

Social Prescribing is where you are prescribed activity or exercise to improve your physical and mental health. It may be used in place of medication or alongside other forms of treatment. It’s also known as a community referral.

Who is Social Prescribing for

Social Prescribing works well for people with:

  • mild or long term mental health problems
  • long term health conditions, such as: multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease or people who need to lose weight
  • loneliness
  • social or emotional needs
  • and for people who make repeat visits to health care services

How does Social Prescribing work

  1.  GPs, nurses, social workers or healthcare professionals refer you to a Social Prescribing Service. You are given an appointment with a  Link Worker also known as a connector, navigator or an enabler.
  2.  they work with you to understand your needs and interests to create your personal plan.
  3.  you are referred to activities in your community such as cooking classes, gardening, art, music, exercise, lunch clubs, volunteering and much more.
  4.  support may be given to you to attend activities in the community until you feel confident to attend independently.
  5.  further appointments and continued support are offered where needed.
Examples of how Social Prescribing may help

If you are feeling lonely being referred to a social group or activity might help you to feel happier and more connected.

If losing weight may help to you to improve your health, walking groups or community gym sessions can help.

How to access Social Prescribing

These are the existing social prescribing services in Newcastle. Speak to your GP to find out if there’s one in your area:

Find out more about activities and events in your community

You don’t need a social prescription to start trying new things.  InformationNOW has articles and activities:

How Social Prescribing works in Newcastle

Social Prescribing is a partnership between health services and the voluntary and community sector. Newcastle has benefited from Social Prescribing for a number of years. It was piloted in the West of the city and other areas are now using it.

  • The Social Prescribing Link Worker Connector Project is working with services in Newcastle and Gateshead to understand local needs and evaluate what exists and identify gaps in current provision. This is in partnership with Mental Health Concern, Edberts House, Healthworks, Newcastle GP Services and Ways to Wellness.

Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

Social Prescribing is an important part of the NHS 10 Year Long Term Plan. NHS England has rolled out funding and social prescribing link workers have been appointed on the following geographical locations.

  • Jesmond-Lower Gosforth
  • Newcastle Outer West
  • Newcastle Inner West
  • North Gosforth
  • Newcastle East
  • Newcastle Central
  • West End Family Health

Each GP Practice in Newcastle is a member of one of these Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and has a Board and GP representative.  The population for each PCN is between 30 and 50,000 residents who are registered with a GP Practice and they have drawn up their priorities to support their given population.  We will add each set of priorities to this information as we receive it.

Inner West priorities: long term care for the housebound; support for people with diabetes; women’s health including contraception and cervical cancer screening.

North Gosforth: frailty and elderly care including exercise; mental health for 16 to 30 years and cardiovascular disease.

Last updated: April 9, 2021