Better funding needed for social prescribing

More funding across the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is needed if it is to help meet increased demand for social prescribing, according to a new report.

The scheme works by referring NHS patients to local voluntary and community services, to improve their quality of life, health and wellbeing and reduce the likelihood that they might need to access NHS services in future.

The report, Rolling Out Social Prescribing: Understanding the experience of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, found numerous examples of more effective health and care support for people, and strong support from primary care networks.

Respondents to the research also highlighted the importance of adequate funding for VCSE organisations, “many of which have long been underfunded”.

It says guidance from NHS England recognises the importance of funding for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, “but lacks an explicit call for local NHS bodies to ensure funding flows to providers of support”.

It says: “It is not the sole responsibility of the NHS to ensure there is functioning social infrastructure in communities, but there was consensus that, as social prescribing identifies unmet needs and drives new demand to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, funding needs to flow to meet this demand.

Charlotte Augst, chief executive of National Voices, said: “Of course, as we spoke to our colleagues working in communities, we heard about things we need to put right – not least the crucial issue of funding for our sector, which simply cannot continue to meet growing demand without sustainable resourcing.

For more information on social prescribing follow the link below: