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Introducing social prescribers to your team

NHS England has produced further guidance and resources to help practices roll our social prescribing in their primary care networks. Medeconomics highlights key information practices should know.

(Photo: asiseeit/Getty Images)
(Photo: asiseeit/Getty Images)

The information includes a welcome pack for the new staff, plus a leaflet existing staff can give to patients who have been referred to a social prescribing link worker.

Last month, NHS England published a PCN reference guide to support practices and networks introduce social prescribing link workers to their teams. This includes a checklist for introducing social prescribing link workers to PCNs, advice on how to create a shared local plan for social prescribing, a framework for how social prescribing link workers should work and advice on quality assurance.

The guide also includes a sample job description, person specification, sample job advert and suggested interview questions, as well as tips on what to include in a new link worker's induction.

Key information for practices

When your social prescriber starts

  • Your social prescribing link worker should have a GP supervisor who should provide direct supervision for their work. This GP should meet regularly with the social prescriber, provide line management and address any issues of concern, including how to raise patient-related concerns such as safeguarding issues or abuse.
  • If your social prescriber is being provided by a partner agency, they will still need a GP supervisor from within the PCN. The GP should involve the partner agency in regular progress updates and ensure there are clear lines of accountability,
  • Social prescribers should also have access to ongoing support and non-clinical supervision from other staff within the PCN. In its welcome pack for social prescribers, NHS England suggests that this support should help social prescribers deal with the emotional impact of their work.
  • NHS England is developing learning and support for link workers. Your social prescriber should email england.socialprescribing@nhs.net informing them that they are a link worker and which PCN they are part of. They should then receive updates about online webinars and other support and they can request access to an online collaborative platform.
  • Each area of England should also be developing peer support networks for social prescribers in their area, which will provide access to training. Contact your regional learning coordinator for more information.
  • NHS England recommends new social prescribers read its Social Prescribing Summary Guide, which is aimed at people leading local implementation of social prescribing. You can find this here.
  • It also suggests that social prescribers should read the PCN reference guide mentioned above. This is available here.
  • The reference guide above also has useful advice on how to create personalised care and support plans and quality assurance for social prescribing programmes.


In order to track the impact of social prescribing the following SNOMED codes should be used by staff referring to your PCN's social prescriber:

  • 871691000000100 - Social prescribing offered (finding)
  • 871711000000103 - Social prescribing declined (situation)
  • 871731000000106 - Referral to social prescribing service (procedure)

NHS England has also asked prescribers in PCNs to collect the following information:

  • Date referred to the link worker
  • Who made the referral
  • Reasons for referral
  • Equality monitoring
  • Contacts with the link worker (first contact when and where, number of phone calls/meetings with the link worker and amount of time spent with the link worker)
  • Where the patient is being connected to
  • Outcomes for the person

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