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Academic review of impact evidence for social prescribing

Up to 8.Use social prescribing
July 11. 2017
Robert Varnam

The University of Westminster have published a review of the academic literature on the impact of social prescribing, as part of the work of the Social Prescribing Network. It can be downloaded at https://www.westminster.ac.uk/file/107671/download

Social prescribing was associated with reduced use of health services by patients referred, including a 28% reduction in GP appointments (range 2% to 70%). Demand for hospital care also showed reductions. A&E attendance fell by an average of 24% (range 8% to 27%), emergency admissions fell between 6% and 36%, and most studies showed a reduction in outpatient referrals (up to 64% for patients engaged in social prescribing).

The report notes that there is a need for more research into the different approaches to social prescribing, their impact and the ways that commissioners and providers can best match services to specific needs in the local population. It also calls for the creation of a common evaluation framework to support further evaluation and service improvement.

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