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Evaluating the use of social prescribing coordinators in general practices

Latest research from the nursing and medical journals. 

Latest research from the nursing and medical journals. Compiled by Vari Drennan, professor of healthcare and policy research, St George’s University of London and Kingston University, London.

Social prescribing focuses on the social component of care. This mixed methods evaluation reports on a scheme in East London where three social prescribing coordinators (SPCs) were attached to 22 general practices. Patients, who were lonely, isolated and frequently attended the general practice were referred to a SPC. The patient and SPC jointly developed a well-being plan to promote social integration. The evaluation included a patient survey with a matched patient control group from a neighbouring area.

There were 585 patients referred to SPC where 14% did not attend. Qualitative interviews found that many patients had positive experiences of SPC but others did not fully engage with the service due to lack of perceived need, logistics or being overwhelmed by other events in their lives. Eight months after referral no differences were found between SPCs’ patients and the control patients in measures of 'positive and active engagement in life', general health, depression or anxiety.

Carnes D, Sohanpal R, Frostick C et al (2017) The impact of a social prescribing service on patients in primary care: a mixed methods evaluation. BMC Health Service Research. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2778-y.

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