23 October 2019

The Royal Society for Public Health, along with Public Health England and NHS Improvement, has developed a framework to support Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to increase their social prescribing and to create a vision of social prescribing for AHPs.

In developing this framework, research found that nearly half (44%) of AHPs felt that their knowledge of social prescribing ‘required improvement’. This new framework aims to fill these gaps and has been produced based on extensive consultation with AHPs and their professional bodies, including the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

The framework, ‘Driving forward social prescribing’, provides a useful resource for other healthcare professionals, by providing practical information including:

  • The spectrum of social prescribing, from less time intensive ‘active signposting’, to ‘referring to a link worker’ and, at its most time intensive, ‘AHPs as social prescriber’
  • The role of AHPs as providers of services and groups that other professionals can socially prescribe people to.
  • How to assess whether social prescribing might be useful for the person you are working with.
  • Suggestions for finding out more about what services and groups are available locally.
  • How AHPs can promote and develop social prescribing in their local areas

The framework importantly includes a wide range of case studies from different AHPs, including many from speech and language therapists working in a variety of settings. These case studies highlight the exciting work already being done and will help AHPs to apply social prescribing in their daily work.

Linda Hindle, Public Health England Lead Allied Health Professional, said: “Social prescribing is fundamental to supporting people to manage their own health and wellbeing. This framework highlights how AHPs contribute across the spectrum of the social prescribing offer, helping people access the right services to meet their needs. We hope the framework will support AHPs, primary care networks and link workers to recognise what AHPs already contribute and where they could do more.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Society for Public Health added: “Social prescribing is an important tool for addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequalities. AHPs have an important role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to social prescribing and this framework will help create a common vision of social prescribing among AHPs going forward.”

The ‘Driving forward social prescribing’ framework is available at https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/resources/ahp-social-prescribing-frameworks.html.