Launch of new Social Prescribing Framework for Allied Health Professionals

Connect Health’s Helen Foster and Aideen Larmer contribute as part of the expert panel in developing a framework for AHPs involved in social prescribing.

Connect Health’s Helen Foster and Aideen Larmer contribute as part of the expert panel in developing a framework for AHPs involved in social prescribing.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), along with Public Health England (PHE) and NHS Improvement, has developed a framework to support Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to increase their social prescribing and to create a vision of social prescribing for AHPs.

In developing this framework, the research found that nearly half (44%) of AHPs felt that their knowledge of social prescribing ‘required improvement’. This new framework aims to fill these gaps, and has been produced based on extensive consultation with AHPs and their professional bodies.

Connect Health Senior Physiotherapist and Team Lead, Helen Foster who sat on the expert panel for developing the framework said

“Often in consultations, we see people who need so much more than we can offer. It’s been really exciting to be part of a project that helps enable us, and other allied health professionals, deliver social prescribing as a way to support our patients in creating long term, positive changes for their health and wellbeing”.

The framework, ‘Driving forward social prescribing’, will provide a useful resource for other healthcare professionals, by providing practical information including:

  • The spectrum of social prescribing, based on less time intensive ‘active signposting’, to ‘referring to a link worker’ and, at its most time intensive, ‘AHPs as social prescriber’;
  • The role of AHPs as providers of services and groups that other professionals can socially prescribe people to;
  • How to assess whether social prescribing might be useful for the person you are working with;
  • Suggestions for finding out more about what services and groups are available locally;
  • How AHPs can promote and develop social prescribing in their local areas; and
  • The ability of social prescribing to support people of all ages with diverse needs.

The framework importantly includes a wide range of case studies from different AHPs working in a variety of settings. These case studies highlight the exciting work already being done by many AHPs to engage people with social prescribing and should encourage all AHPs of the value of social prescribing in their daily work.

Linda Hindle, PHE Lead Allied Health Professional, said:

“Social prescribing is fundamental to supporting people to manage their own health and wellbeing. This framework highlights how AHPs contribute across the spectrum of the social prescribing offer, helping people access the right services to meet their needs. We hope the framework will support AHPs, primary care networks and link workers to recognise what AHPs already contribute and where they could do more.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH added:

“Social prescribing is an important tool for addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequalities. AHPs have an important role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to social prescribing and this framework will help create a common vision of social prescribing among AHPs going forward.”

The ‘Driving forward social prescribing’ framework is available at https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/resources/ahp-social-prescribing-frameworks.html.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)

  • The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is an independent health education charity, dedicated to protecting and promoting the public’s health and wellbeing;
  • We are the world’s longest-established public health body with more than 6,000 members drawn from the public health community both in the UK and internationally;
  • Our operations include an Ofqual recognised awarding organisation, a training and development arm, and health and wellbeing accreditation.
  • We also produce a wide-variety of public health conferences; our publishing division includes the internationally renowned journal Public Health; and we are developing policy and campaigns to promote better health and wellbeing.
  • For more information visit our website or follow us on Twitter: @R_S_P_H.