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  • 1 September 2021 to 31 July 2023
  • Project No: 529
  • Funding round: FR1

Social prescribing is a key NHS policy which aims to improve people’s health by addressing social factors (e.g. social isolation, financial concerns, and housing worries) that can impact wellbeing. Social prescribing does this by referring patients to organisations in their community such as charities, support groups and social clubs that might be able to help. The NHS is employing link workers in GP surgeries to provide social prescribing to patients. Link workers spend time talking to patients to understand what matters to them and their health and wellbeing goals. They then help patients develop an action plan and link them to organisations in their local community that might be able to help. However, very little thought has been given to how social prescribing works in areas where community organisations may be limited, such as in areas with high levels of poverty. More research is needed to inform how social prescribing services can be designed to work best for patients in those areas. Our research aims to understand how link workers set up social prescribing pathways with community organisations in disadvantaged areas, so that they best benefit patients. We will undertake a systematic review of the existing literature to understand how link workers in disadvantaged settings experience and fulfil their role. We will also carry out interviews with 25 link workers who work in disadvantaged settings. The interviews will help us understand how they connect with organisations in the community and how patients then benefit from these connections. The findings from the review and the interviews will then be brought together and presented to key stakeholders (members of the public, policy makers, GPs, and social prescribers) to help us decide priorities for future research. This project will lead into a larger study which will explore social prescribing in disadvantaged settings in greater detail.


Dr Kamal Mahtani

Amount awarded: £34,618


Amount awarded: £34,618

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.