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Understanding Social Prescribing synergies key to improving health and wellbeing for all

Published: 5 September 2022

A new report published by the Primary Care Division, Public Health Wales, highlights the distinctions and synergies between, physical and mental health services, wellbeing activities and community assets; and social prescribing.

Social prescribing, a non-clinical intervention, defined in Wales as ‘connecting citizens to community support to better manage their health and wellbeing’ has received support and recognition, as an important approach to improving health and wellbeing for all.  

The current social prescribing model in Wales is holistic, person-centred and integrates with statutory services across sectors. The ‘Social Prescribing Interface Model’ reflects the distinctive ways that people engage with these services and activities, but it recognises that there are clear meeting points when viewed together. The following interfaces have been explored: 

  • Social Prescribing with Wellbeing Activities & Community Assets 
  • Social Prescribing with Physical & Mental Health Services 
  • Social Prescribing with both Physical & Mental Health Services and Wellbeing Activities & Community Assets 

Zoe Wallace, Director of Primary Care “This Social Prescribing Interface Model helps to illustrate the interactions of social prescribing with existing services and activities. Understanding these interfaces will help to implement Welsh Government’s forthcoming national framework for social prescribing”. 

Five recommendations have been identified which are intended to inform strategic direction and policy development in relation to social prescribing, with the goal of supporting and improving the wellbeing of both current and future generations in Wales. 

These are:  

  1. To recognise and address the interface between social, physical and mental health and wellbeing in all polices.  
  2. To support the interaction and synergy between all components in the social prescribing interface model, by making equitable population health and wellbeing central to the planning of services.  
  3. To embed a person-centred approach to accessing services, activities and assets to support people to better manage their health and wellbeing.  
  4. To support those referring (including self-referral) with understanding the role and purpose of services, activities and assets to support different needs. 
  5. To achieve the long-term outcomes of social prescribing, there is a need to increase the scale and sustainability of services, activities and assets that social prescribing relies on.