Social Prescribing


Social Prescribing is a tool which “links patients in primary care and their carers with non-medical sources of support within the community. It is tailor-made for Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) led interventions and can result in: better social and clinical outcomes for people and their carers.” (Sheffield Hallam)

Social prescribing is defined as “a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector.” OPM


Why is Social Prescribing needed?

The Marmot Review identified in the 2010 review of health inequalities that around 70% of health outcomes are determined by social factors, and just 30% by clinical interventions.

GPONLINE recently reported (2015) on the comments of Jeremy Hunt (when he was Health Secretary) ‘that a significant part of a GP’s time is spent on seeing patients with social problems, such as debt, isolation, housing’ however a significant proportion of GP’s do not know about, or do not have the time to access services that tackle social problems (commonly voluntary and community sector activities). ‘We need to empower general practice by breaking down the barriers with other sectors, whether social care, community care or mental health providers, so that social prescribing becomes as normal a part of your job as medical prescribing is today’, said Jeremy Hunt.


So what is VANL doing on behalf of the local voluntary sector and the people of North Lincolnshire?

VANL continues to talk to the Clinical Commissioning group and the Council, about developing a Social Prescribing programme for North Lincolnshire, highlighting the strong reasons why the VCS should be an active and funded partner in finding and implementing new ways of tackling and preventing ill-health.

Alongside this work key VCS Health and Wellbeing organisations have joined together to form a Health and Wellbeing Alliance, facilitated by VANL. Although it is still early days we are together improving our sphere of influence and strengthening our activities as a sector by facilitating greater co-operation, collaboration and partnership working, thereby closing gaps between agencies and building capacity by joint action.


  • To work collaboratively to co-design, develop and implement joint projects and services to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of North Lincolnshire.
  • To support the development and sustainability of the VCS and the wider health and wellbeing arena by developing best practice, enabling greater cooperation and joint service delivery sharing learning,  and offering mutual support.
  • To raise the profile of the VCS until it is seen as an equal partner in the health and wellbeing arena
  • To influence the design, planning, commissioning and delivery of Health and Wellbeing services for the benefit of individuals and communities of North Lincolnshire.

Core members:

Age UK Lindsey, Active Humber, Carers Support, Crosby Community Association, Home-Start Lincolnshire, Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council, Ongo Employment, Scunthorpe and District MIND, The Forge, Westcliff Drop-in, Voluntary Action North Lincolnshire.

Partnership members (so far): The Samaritans and Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Whilst the Alliance is still very much in its development phase we have managed to re-establish a closer working relationship between North Lincolnshire Council and the VCS via the Alliance and establish a Charter which we hope will be formally adopted very soon.

There is still a long way to go to ensure we are really connecting with communities and the wider VCS, however the support and commitment of the Core Group has been inspirational, particularly in the face of unprecedented cuts to their resources, massively impacting on the capacity of the organisations.

Thank you one and all for all the work you have put in to the development of this partnership and I very much look forward to working with you.

Carole Phillips – Oct 2018