A longitudinal evaluation of two primary care social prescribing models

Talk Code: 
Deborah Shenton
Deb Shenton, Lynne Callaghan, Inocencio Maramba, Richard Byng, Helen Lloyd
Author institutions: 
Plymouth University


Meeting the health and social care needs of those with long term conditions and complex health requirements is a considerable challenge likely to necessitate a person centred and coordinated approach, supporting and empowering individuals to play an important role in improving their own outcomes. Such approaches are likely to require social interventions alongside psychological and medical ones. Models for ‘social prescribing’ require: identification of social goals; agreement on a social intervention and provider; support to attend and sustain engagement; and also stronger links between primary care and third sector providers delivering social interventions. Integrated Care Exeter (ICE) is a local city-wide response to achieve a service delivery organisation. ICE is a statutory, voluntary and community sector alliance that is self-governing but fully integrated within the statutory decision making infrastructure.


This longitudinal evaluation, part of a wider programme for Person Centred Coordinated Care (PCCC), focusses on one element of ICE, integrating primary care and voluntary sector services to enable GPs to refer patients for support of identified non-medical needs. The evaluation examines two models of social prescribing, (1) GP referral to a single point of access for allocation by voluntary sector services and (2) direct referral to voluntary sector coordinator working within the primary care setting. It aims to evaluate impact of the two models and add to our theoretical knowledge of how to deliver social interventions from primary care.Using mixed methods we will combine qualitative data drawn from semi-structured interviews, within patterns of service use for those individuals targeted to the social prescribing intervention. We will provide a mixed perspective of the experience of the intervention from both staff and patients involved. The evaluation will explore how both interventions are conceptualised, being delivered and the barriers and facilitators to implementation.


Findings will be presented in the light of the development of social prescribing within ICE programme, and as part of the wider implementation of PCCC with particular focus on patient involvement in decision making and goal setting. We will present emerging findings from the initial supporting phase of the project (Jan –March 2016). This will consist of a description of referral and service use patterns from pre and post intervention for the entire cohort. We will characterise the cohorts in terms of demographics, service use and diagnosis.


We will provide an overview of the logic model of the two interventions (the workings),and emerging insights from the qualitative interviews with staff and patients exploring how these are actually working in practice, and how this relate to existing literature on social prescribing in primary care.

Submitted by: 
Deb Shenton
Funding acknowledgement: 
The ICE board