Westminster Health Forum

Next steps for social prescribing in England

Afternoon, Tuesday, 26th March 2019

The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR


This conference discusses next steps for social prescribing in England - with sessions focusing on community-based personalised care, demonstrating quality, learning from best practice and the next steps for policy.

It takes place with the commitment in the NHS England Long Term Plan to expand social prescribing across England, with a focus on reducing health inequalities, delivering community-based care and increasing local accessibility.

The seminar also follows the publication of Universal Personalised Care: Implementing the Comprehensive Model, which sets out a range of initiatives to support the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan and the expansion of social prescribing - including ensuring that all GP practices will have access to a link worker by 2023/24.

We expect discussion on further preparations that will need to be made to realise the aim of more than 900,000 people being referred through social prescribing in 5 years-time - including widening the range of support available across England, the recruitment and training of link workers within primary care networks, and the development of joint working with local groups and support services.

Delegates will also assess the impact of the renewed five-year GP contract, which commits to creating primary care networks across the country and delivering the aim within the Government’s Loneliness strategy that all local systems will have social prescribing schemes by 2023.

Attendees will consider the next steps for improving prevention whilst also helping to address overprescribing - with the Government’s review into overprescribing looking at how alternative forms of treatment such as social prescribing can be utilised to provide better tailored healthcare in line with the Comprehensive Model for Universal Personalised Care. 

The seminar also follows the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announcing that the Department - alongside stakeholders within NHS trusts and providers, and from DCMS and Arts Council England - will create a National Academy for Social Prescribing, which will build a research base and be a champion for non-drug treatments.

The agenda includes discussion on delivering social prescribing in practice including opportunities for collaboration with the third sector, businesses, local authorities and the NHS to ensure value for money, quality and equity of access.

We also expect discussion on how engagement with local system leaders could be improved - including in the context of Integrated Care Systems - and how to address governance issues and evaluate the effectiveness of social prescribing.

Further sessions consider the impact of government funding for a range of social prescribing schemes across England and priorities for utilising additional funding of £4.5bn within the NHS Long Term Plan for primary and community-based care over the next five years - as well as what more can be done locally to identify and organise the use of assets that already exist.

Guest of Honour

Dr Michael Dixon

National Clinical Lead, Social Prescribing, NHS England; Co-Chair, Social Prescribing Network and Chairman, College of Medicine

Guest of Honour

Dr Michael Dixon

National Clinical Lead, Social Prescribing, NHS England; Co-Chair, Social Prescribing Network and Chairman, College of Medicine

Keynote Speaker

Professor Gillian Leng

Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care, NICE


Baroness Hollins

Rt Hon the Lord Howarth of Newport

Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing


Siân Brand

Lead Programme Manager, Connect Well, Mid Essex Social Prescribing Project and Programme Support, Connected Kingston, Royal Borough of Kingston

Dr Marie Polley

Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster and Co-Chair, Social Prescribing Network

Ellen Rule

Director, Transformation and Service Redesign, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Gerry Taylor

Corporate Director, Public Health, Commissioning and Procurement, Luton Borough Council

Sandra Gidley

Chair, English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Chris Easton

Head of Person and Community Centred Approaches, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Bev Taylor

Senior Manager, Personalised Care, NHS England

Marjorie Wallace

Chief Executive, SANE