Social prescribing

On these pages you can find evidence and resources relating to social prescribing.

Back to the Green Social Prescribing Resources home page.


The National Academy of Social Prescribing for the latest news and reports on social prescribing in England

NHS (2020) Social prescribing and community-based support. Summary guide

PHE (2019) Social prescribing: applying All Our Health. A guide that helps frontline health and care staff use their trusted relationships with patients, families and communities to promote the benefits of social prescribing

The Kings Fund’s explainer of Social Prescribing

NHS (2021) Social prescribing link workers: Reference guide for primary care networks.

Lister C (2019) Quality Assurance for Social Prescribing: A guide to support social prescribing programmes in England

BMJ Clinical Update: Drinkwater, C., Wildman, J., & Moffatt, S. (2019). Social prescribing. BMJ, 364.

Royal College of Nursing (undated) Social prescribing models

RCPG, Nuffield Department of Prmiary Care, Oxford University (undated) The Social Prescribing Observatory

The Social Prescribing Network’s (2018) Quality Assurance for Social Prescribing in England guidance and resources


Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of Occupational Therapists (2021) Social prescribing: Position statement. PS01/21

Healthy Parternship London, NHS, GLA and Elemental (2020) Social Prescribing and the Digital Landscape

Jani, A et al. (2020) Social prescribing observatory: A learning health system approach for using data to improve practice

Polley M, Whitehouse J, Elnaschie S and Fixsen A (2019) What does successful social prescribing look like – mapping meaningful outcomes, London, University of Westminster.

Polley, M. J., & Pilkington, K. (2017). A review of the evidence assessing impact of social prescribing on healthcare demand and cost implications.

Polley MJ, Pilkington K (2017) A review of the evidence assessing impact of social prescribing on healthcare demand and cost implications.

Systematic reviews

Thomas, G., Lynch, M., & Spencer, L. H. (2021). A Systematic Review to Examine the Evidence in Developing Social Prescribing Interventions That Apply a Co-Productive, Co-Designed Approach to Improve Well-Being Outcomes in a Community Setting. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(8), 3896.

Tierney, S., Wong, G., Roberts, N., Boylan, A. M., Park, S., Abrams, R., … & Mahtani, K. R. (2020). Supporting social prescribing in primary care by linking people to local assets: a realist review. BMC medicine, 18(1), 1-15.

Husk K, Blockley K, Lovell R, Bethel A, Lang I, Byng R, Garside R. (2020) What approaches to social prescribing work, for whom, and in what circumstances? A realist review. Health & social care in the community. 28(2):309-24.

Reinhardt, G. Y., Vidovic, D., & Hammerton, C. (2020). Understanding loneliness: a systematic review of the impact of social prescribing initiatives on loneliness. Perspectives in Public Health, 1757913920967040.

Chatterjee, H. J., Camic, P. M., Lockyer, B., & Thomson, L. J. (2018). Non-clinical community interventions: a systematised review of social prescribing schemes. Arts & Health, 10(2), 97-123.

Pescheny, J. V., Randhawa, G., & Pappas, Y. (2020). The impact of social prescribing services on service users: a systematic review of the evidence. European journal of public health, 30(4), 664-673.

Tierney S, Wong G, Roberts N, Boylan AM, Park S, Abrams R, Reeve J, Williams V, Mahtani KR (2020) Supporting social prescribing in primary care by linking people to local assets: a realist review. BMC medicine. 2020 Dec;18(1):1-5.

Pescheny, J. V., Pappas, Y., & Randhawa, G. (2018). Facilitators and barriers of implementing and delivering social prescribing services: a systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 18(1), 1-14.

Primary papers

Brown RC, Mahtani K, Turk A, Tierney S. (2021) Social Prescribing in National Health Service Primary Care: What Are the Ethical Considerations?. The Milbank Quarterly.

Foster A, Thompson J, Holding E, Ariss S, Mukuria C, Jacques R, Akparido R & Haywood A (2020) Impact of social prescribing to address loneliness: a mixed methods evaluation of a national social prescribing programme. Health & Social Care in the Community.

Dayson, C., Painter, J., & Bennett, E. (2020). Social prescribing for patients of secondary mental health services: emotional, psychological and social well-being outcomes. Journal of Public Mental Health.

Holding E, Thompson J, Foster A & Haywood A (2020) Connecting communities: A qualitative investigation of the challenges in delivering a national social prescribing service to reduce loneliness. Health & Social Care in the Community.

Wakefield, J. R. H., Kellezi, B., Stevenson, C., McNamara, N., Bowe, M., Wilson, I., … & Mair, E. (2020). Social Prescribing as ‘Social Cure’: A longitudinal study of the health benefits of social connectedness within a Social Prescribing pathway. Journal of Health Psychology, 1359105320944991.

Kellezi, B., Wakefield, J. R. H., Stevenson, C., McNamara, N., Mair, E., Bowe, M., … & Halder, M. M. (2019). The social cure of social prescribing: a mixed-methods study on the benefits of social connectedness on quality and effectiveness of care provision. BMJ open, 9(11), e033137.

Hamilton‐West, K., Gadsby, E., Zaremba, N., & Jaswal, S. (2019). Evaluability assessments as an approach to examining social prescribing. Health & social care in the community, 27(4), 1085-1094.

Elston, J., Gradinger, F., Asthana, S., Lilley-Woolnough, C., Wroe, S., Harman, H., & Byng, R. (2019). Does a social prescribing ‘holistic’link-worker for older people with complex, multimorbidity improve well-being and frailty and reduce health and social care use and costs? A 12-month before-and-after evaluation. Primary health care research & development, 20.

Wildman, J. M., Moffatt, S., Penn, L., O’Brien, N., Steer, M., & Hill, C. (2019). Link workers’ perspectives on factors enabling and preventing client engagement with social prescribing. Health & social care in the community, 27(4), 991-998.

Wildman, J. M., Moffatt, S., Steer, M., Laing, K., Penn, L., & O’Brien, N. (2019). Service-users’ perspectives of link worker social prescribing: a qualitative follow-up study. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1-12.

Husk, K., Elston, J., Gradinger, F., Callaghan, L., & Asthana, S. (2019). Social prescribing: where is the evidence? British Journal of General Practice 2019; 69 (678): 6-7.

Skivington, K., Smith, M., Chng, N. R., Mackenzie, M., Wyke, S., & Mercer, S. W. (2018). Delivering a primary care-based social prescribing initiative: a qualitative study of the benefits and challenges. British Journal of General Practice, 68(672), e487-e494.

Bertotti, M., Frostick, C., Hutt, P., Sohanpal, R., & Carnes, D. (2018). A realist evaluation of social prescribing: an exploration into the context and mechanisms underpinning a pathway linking primary care with the voluntary sector. Primary health care research & development, 19(3), 232-245.

Pescheny, J., Randhawa, G., & Pappas, Y. (2018). Patient uptake and adherence to social prescribing: a qualitative study. BJGP open, 2(3).

Loftus AM, McCauley F, McCarron MO (2017) Impact of social prescribing on general practice workload and polypharmacy. Public Health. Jul 1;148:96-101.

Dayson, C. (2017). Social prescribing ‘plus’: a model of asset-based collaborative innovation?People, Place and Policy, 11 (2), 90-104.


Collins (2020) Social prescribing and NHS facilities. Blog for the Kings Fund. 

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