Social prescribing is the use of non-medical interventions to achieve sustained lifestyle change and improved self-care among people with long-term health conditions (LTCs) and has been taking place on a small scale for a number of years. The need for evidence of effectiveness using robust evaluative designs has been identified.
The NIHR SPHR Public Health Practice Evaluation (PHPES) programme is funding a study which aims to examine data collection systems and outcome measures in order to inform a future large scale evaluation of the Ways to Wellness (WtW) social prescribing intervention.
WtW is the first UK organisation to deliver social prescribing at scale. Based in west Newcastle upon Tyne, an area with some of the most socio-economically deprived wards in England, 17 general practices can refer patients aged 40-74 with LTCs (diabetes-type 1&2), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, coronary heart disease, heart failure, epilepsy, osteoporosis, with or without anxiety or depression). WtW offers a ‘hub’ model of social prescribing in which a Link Worker trained in behaviour change methods offers a holistic and personalised service to identify meaningful health and wellness goals, as well as connecting service users, when indicated, to community and voluntary groups and resources. Service users are supported to live healthier and more fulfilling lives, learn to confidently manage their LTC and reduce their dependency on the NHS. WtW is delivered by four third sector organisations and is funded through a social impact bond model. Operational since April 2015, WtW received over 1,100 referrals (exceeding target) in year one and is funded for seven years. The target is 11,000 service users over this period.
The research team comprises: Dr Suzanne Moffatt (Newcastle University), Tara Case (WtW), Dr Linda Penn, Dr Nicola O’Brien, Dr Mel Steer (Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University).
TagsPHPESPublic Health Practice Evaluation Scheme