Regional Innovation Co-ordination Hub Newsletter Social Prescribing

The Latest News in Social Prescribing 

Social prescribing has been recognised as having a key role to play in ensuring a sustainable health and social care system that looks after the wellbeing of the population in Wales.

Research shows around 1 in 5 patients consult their GP with
what is primarily a social problem*

Social prescribing can reduce the footfall to GP surgeries
by 15% to 28%**

We’ve been working on a number of social prescribing related projects, such as exploring ways that it can help with physical health, mental health and social isolation, and looking into how we can evaluate social prescribing so it can be used to best effect. 

 A mixed methods study found patients who used social prescribing services accessed primary care services less – with a reduction of 25% in appointments***

An evaluation of a British Red Cross-delivered social prescribing service found that 72% of participants reported feeling less lonely after receiving support****

Social Prescribing Evaluation Framework


The RIC Hub has partnered with the Welsh School for Social Prescribing Research (WSSPR) to develop an evaluation framework for social prescribing. The framework will allow local social prescribing providers to measure and demonstrate how their services function and deliver outcomes for those who use them. By highlighting best practice and opportunities, this will help us to better understand social prescribing in our region and inform future developments in our health and social care system. 

The first stage of this work is to develop the framework by engaging with people involved in social prescribing from varying perspectives to identify and agree what data should be part of the framework. 

This stage is crucial because there is currently no core minimum data set for social prescribing evaluation. This makes it difficult for providers and commissioners attempting to evaluate their services.

Once the framework has been developed, WSSPR will work with providers to embed it into practice. 


Get Involved



As part of the development of the framework, we are asking people who are involved in social prescribing from a variety of perspectives to take part in a short online study to identify what data is important to collect. Please email [email protected] for more information



Welsh Government are consulting with stakeholders across Wales to develop a common understanding of the language used to describe social prescribing and to identify actions which embed the model through a national framework. Click here if you’d like to get involved.

The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling is a huge part of what we do to share best practice. We tell the stories of those at the heart of our services so similar services can be adopted across our region and beyond. Grab a cup of tea and watch the videos below!

As part of our work with the South West GP Cluster, we heard from local residents about the positive impact social prescribing is having on their lives.

Watch this film to see how community gardening project Grow Well has helped people physically, mentally and socially.

Watch this to see why a cluster of GPs created their very own parkrun at Trelai Park in Ely. 

By teaming up with parkrun and the Royal College of General Practitioners as part of the wider parkrun Practice initiative, they are successfully encouraging practice staff, patients and carers to be more active and take control of their wellbeing.

We teamed up with the Fathom Trust’s Making Well Project in Powys to explore the benefits Green Prescribing can have to people’s health and wellbeing.

At the end of the pilot programme, participants reported improved overall wellbeing and fewer GP appointments compared to before.

There are hopes for the project and it’s principles to be expanded and adopted in other areas across Wales.

Click here to see more of our work!

* Torjesen, I (2016) Social prescribing could help alleviate pressure on GPs, British Medical Journal 352; 1436


***  Kellezi, B., Wakefield, J.R.H., Stevenson, C., McNamara, N., Mair, E. , Bowe, M., , Wilson, I. and Halder, M.M. (2019) The social cure of social prescribing: a mixed-methods study on the benefits of social connectedness on quality and effectiveness of care provision. BMJ Open 2019;9:e033137. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2019-033137

**** Foster, A., Thompson, J., Holding, E., Ariss, S., Mukuria, C., Jacques, R., Akparido, R. and Haywood, A. (2020) Impact of social prescribing to address loneliness: A mixed methods evaluation of a national social prescribingprogramme Health and Social Care in the Community 29(5):1439-1449.

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