Social Prescribing and Community Orientation

What is Social Prescribing?

Social Prescribing is a means of referring patients in primary care to activities within their community that could improve their health and wellbeing, often addressing  isolation and loneliness. These sources of support can cover a wide range of activities such as craft groups,  exercise programmes, dancing, photography, gardening all of which also enable people to meet with other people on a social basis. There are other advantages to social prescribing in terms of reduction in practice visits, building social capital, the personal development of individuals, and benefit to the community.

Who are we?

In 2018 a group of European rural primary care healthcare professionals came together through their  established WONCA network EURIPA to share their experiences with social prescribing.  Following a subsequent  workshop on social prescribing, a pan-European working group was established in 2021 and has since been growing in terms of strength and breadth of expertise, with members from across Europe (both urban and rural) and impact through collaboration. At the WONCA Europe Council meeting in June 2022 we were delighted to become the

WONCA Europe Special Interest Group on Social Prescribing and Community Orientation

Through sharing experiences it became clear that social prescribing has the opportunity to make a big difference to communities and individuals served by their primary care teams. This in combination with a growing evidence base led to the aim to embed Social Prescribing in primary care and in the community. 

What is Aim of the group?

Using the established WONCA Europe networks we aim to connect

  • primary care health care professionals,
  • their teams,
  • the communities they serve and
  • the community groups/third sector organisations

to champion the adoption of social prescription and to promote adoption of social prescribing in countries where it doesn’t exist.

This is done by

  • sharing knowledge and best practice,
  • supporting social prescribing at an European, national and local level and inform good quality research.

A leaflet to explain more about the WESIG is available here. We communicate through a Google group. If you are interested in becoming invovled and joining the Google group please contact the Administrator.

The Group is currently undertaking a Mapping Project to understand more about what is taking place across Europe.  You can find out more here.