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July 12, 2017

Social not medical

The use of anti-depressants has doubled in just over a decade with one in seven Scots now receiving a prescription in the course of a year. GPs are often criticised for being too quick to prescribe these drugs rather than more holistic and less medical interventions. But these social prescriptions which are invariably community based need to be readily available and clearly understood by the clinicians. Some initial scoping is underway both here and in Northern Ireland to gauge interest in establishing a Social Prescribing Network. Views are being sought.


Community Enterprise

Despite a strategic commitment nationally towards preventative spend and community led health, and a focus on the benefits of collaboration and partnership working between the third sector and the public sector, the way health and well-being is achieved for our communities has not changed much.  To challenge this, the Accelerating Ideas programme at the UK Big Lottery is considering investing in a method that will create a culture change in health, and fundamentally shift activity, (and potentially budgets), away from the NHS and statutory providers and towards communities.

Social prescribing is a means of enabling GPs and other health professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services usually in the third, charity or social enterprise sectors.  Social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health and links “medical” process into a more social model of health and well-being.

Right now a feasibility is underway to scope out the establishment of a Social Prescribing Network across the North of Ireland and Scotland to roll out the idea, extending take up and impact.  A partnership of the Healthy Living Centre Alliance (HLCA) and Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing (SCFHWB) in Northern Ireland and Scotland (respectively) have commissioned a consortia of Community Enterprise and Scottish Community Development Centre to investigate this model.   As part of the research, there is a need to consider what the appetite for such a model could look like in Northern Ireland and Scotland.  We would be very grateful if you would help us to promote and distribute this survey in your bulletin  and through your networks as it could really be something of national significance for community organisations.

Here is the link to the Social Prescribing Survey