Social Prescribing

What is Social Prescribing?

Social prescribing recognises that health is heavily determined by social factors such as poverty, isolation and loneliness. Social prescribing offers GPs and other health professionals a means of referring people to a range of non-clinical community supports which can have significant benefits for their overall health and wellbeing.
Social Prescribing has a number of key components:

  • A referral from any healthcare professional/other professional or self-referral into the service
  • an intervention between the service user and a social prescribing link worker. The intervention can take up to eight sessions
  • Supporting the service user to access local voluntary community and social enterprise organisations or services through discussion and joint decision
  • making measuring the impact of the social prescribing on the person, the wider community and the health service.

Who is social prescribing for?

Social prescribing is for adults over the aged of 18 years, including (but not exclusively) people:

  • with one or more long-term conditions
  • who need support with their mental health
  • who are lonely or isolated
  • who are frequent GP/ED attendees and may benefit from other social supports outside of clinical services
  • who have complex social needs which affect their health and wellbeing.

Is Social Prescribing available nationally in the HSE?

HSE-funded Social Prescribing services are now available in over 30 locations around the country. These services are delivered in partnership with community and voluntary organisations such as Family Resource Centres and Local Development Companies. The HSE Social Prescribing Framework outlines how social prescribing can be mainstreamed and integrated within the HSE. One full-time social prescribing link worker per Community Healthcare Network or Sláintecare Healthy Communities site is proposed as part of the delivery model for social prescribing outlined in the HSE Social Prescribing Framework.

How can I access a social prescribing service?

To make a referral or to self-refer to a service contact your local social prescribing service directly. See for a list of social prescribing services and their contact details across the country.