A new independent academy for social prescribing is being set up in partnership with Sport England, Arts Council England and a range of voluntary sector partners.
The National Academy for Social Prescribing will work to standardise the quality and range of social prescribing available to patients across the country and increase awareness of the benefits of social prescribing by building and promoting the evidence base. It will receive £5 million of Government funding and will be led by Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the outgoing chair of the Royal College of GPs.
Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services. This can include activities such as art and singing classes. Currently 60 per cent of clinical commissioning groups use social prescribing for patients with anxiety, mental health problems and dementia.
In some parts of the country, patients with long-term conditions who have had access to social prescribing link workers have said they are less isolated, attended 47 per cent fewer hospital appointments and made 38 per cent fewer visits to A&E.