Delivering a primary care-based social prescribing initiative: a qualitative study of the benefits and challenges

Skivington, K. , Smith, M., Chng, N. R., Mackenzie, M., Wyke, S. and Mercer, S. W. (2018) Delivering a primary care-based social prescribing initiative: a qualitative study of the benefits and challenges. British Journal of General Practice, 68(672), e487-e494. (doi:10.3399/bjgp18X696617) (PMID:29784868) (PMCID:PMC6014416)

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Abstract

Background: ‘Social prescribing’ is a collaborative approach to improve inter-sectoral working between primary healthcare and community organisations. The Links Worker Programme (LWP) is a social prescribing initiative in areas of high deprivation in Glasgow, Scotland aiming to mitigate the negative impacts of the social determinants of health. Aim: To uncover issues relevant to implementing a social prescribing programme to improve inter-sectoral working to achieve public health goals. Design and Setting: Qualitative interview study with 30 community organisation representatives in LWP areas, and six Community Links Practitioners (CLPs) in LWP practices. Methods: Audio recordings of interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Results: Participants identified benefits of collaborative working, particularly the CLPs’ ability to act as patients’ case manager, and their position within GP practices which operated as a bridge between organisations. However, benefits were seen to flow from new relationships between individuals within community organisations and CLPs, rather than more generally with the practice as a whole. Challenges to the LWP were related to capacity and funding for community organisations in the context of austerity. Capacity of CLPs was also an issue given their role involved time-consuming, intensive case management. Conclusions: While the LWP appears to be a fruitful approach to collaborative case management, integration initiatives such as social prescribing cannot be seen as ‘magic bullets’. In the context of economic austerity such approaches may not achieve their potential unless funding is available for community organisations to continue to provide services and make and maintain their links with primary care.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Kathryn Skivington is supported by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates Grants SPHSU15 and SPHSU10.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wyke, Professor Sally and Skivington, Dr Kathryn and Chng, Dr Nai Rui and Smith, Mr Mathew and Mercer, Professor Stewart and MacKenzie, Professor Mhairi
Authors: Skivington, K., Smith, M., Chng, N. R., Mackenzie, M., Wyke, S., and Mercer, S. W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:British Journal of General Practice
Publisher:Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN:0960-1643
ISSN (Online):1478-5242
Published Online:22 May 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 British Journal of General Practice
First Published:First published in British Journal of General Practice 68(672): e487-494
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727621SPHSU Core Renewal: Neighbourhoods and Communities Research ProgrammeAnne EllawayMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/10IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU