Social prescribing enables all primary care staff and local agencies to refer people to a social prescriber link worker. This new role gives people time and focuses on what matters to the person as identified through shared decision making or personalised care and support planning. They connect people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support. They work within multidisciplinary teams and collaborate with local partners to support community groups to be accessible and sustainable and help people to start new groups.


Social prescribing complements other approaches such as ‘active signposting’. Social prescribing Link workers typically support people on average over 6-12 contacts (including phone calls, meetings and home visits) with a typical caseload of 200- 250 people per year, depending on the complexity of people’s needs and the maturity of the social prescribing scheme.

Training & Development

PCNs are required to ensure that social prescribing link workers complete the following training:

PCNs must provide social prescribing link workers with:

  • Regular access to clinical supervision provided by a GP
  • Access to GP IT systems to enable them to record referrals using SNOMED codes

Benefits of this role

  • People with long term conditions and their carers can benefit from access to additional, non-clinical support options within primary care.
  • Patients experience positive outcomes associated with their health and wellbeing overall, helping patients become less socially isolated and more independent.
  • Social prescribers can significantly help reduce GP consultations (59% of GPs think as much).
  • One in five GPs regularly refer patients to social prescribing with 40% saying they would refer if they had more information about available services.
  • GPs and their existing staff recognise the importance of social support as an alternative to medication and find the simple referral process for GPs and other clinical staff very helpful.
  • Social prescribers are already having a positive impact on GP consultation rates, A&E attendances, hospital stays, medication use and social care.
  • The University of Westminster led an evidence review looking at the impact of social prescribing on demand for NHS healthcare. The review found: an average of 28% fewer GP consultations and 24% fewer A&E attendances where social prescribing ‘connector’ services are working well. The review also showed as much as a 33% reduction in A&E attendances and 58% reduction in unscheduled hospital admissions.
  • Social prescribing was seen to generally improve people’s health and wellbeing and contribute to building stronger communities.  
  • Social prescribing allows the provision of innovative community-based services that complement traditional medical interventions.
  • This role is part of the additional role reimbursement scheme (ARRS) at 100% of actual salary plus defined on-costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £35,389 over 12 months.
  • Schemes are available to sub contract to another provider.