Institute for Social Prescribing

Not every visit to a GP requires a medical prescription. Referring patients to community services, such as exercise classes or social groups, can boost their health and wellbeing more than clinical treatments can. This process is known as social prescribing.

 Social prescribing involves GPs referring people to link workers. Link workers connect people to services, groups and activities in the community, giving people time to focus on what matters to them to improve their health and wellbeing.

The South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) has launched its Institute for Social Prescribing to accelerate innovation in the field of social prescribing in our region and beyond.

Together with public health consultant Professor Sir Muir Gray and NHS England National Clinical Lead for social prescribing Michael Dixon, the SW AHSN is creating test beds regionally and nationally to recognise and celebrate excellence in a holistic approach to health and wellbeing in the South West.

Over the coming months, we will be supporting senior fellows in four test bed sites in the South West to lead and test innovation in social prescribing.


James Szymankiewicz and Hannah McDonald

St Austell

Stewart Smith and Hayley Burgoyne


Helen Kingston and Jenny Hartnoll


Daisy Robinson and Ruth Tucker

Social prescribing is contributing towards personalised care – a tailored approach to care for individuals, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ provision. The NHS Long Term Plan states that personalised care will become ‘business as usual’ across the health and care system over the next decade.

View these slides for more information about test bed sites, fellows and next steps. To find out more, please contact