Social Prescriber

Published: 17 Jan 2014


The Bromley by Bow Centre was founded on the principles of social prescribing and the impact that positive social and learning opportunities have on health and wellbeing.

Since the development of the Bromley by Bow Health Centre in 1997, doctors have been referring patients to programmes and projects at the Centre. In recent years the Centre has received funding from the local Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP Network to expand this work and take this model to other GP practices. Since this new phase of the programme began in January 2013 the Centre’s Social Prescriber project  has supported over 700 local people, like Peter, to access local services and programmes in the borough and in doing so increased their health and well-being.

“In a situation like I was in with depression, one of the key problems that you have is isolation and to have a referral where you’re actually going to meet people who then start taking an interest in you… is just fantastic really” Peter

Our Social Prescriber project supports and facilitates healthcare professionals in our local GP practices; Bromley by Bow Health Centre, St Andrews Health Centre, Stroudley Walk Health Centre, St Pauls Way Medical Centre and Merchant Street Practice to link their patients to the wider support services available by using a simple electronic referral form. These services currently include:

  • Health, wellbeing and healthy lifestyles – such as Health Trainers for support with healthy eating, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking cessation and mental health; community based mental health projects and exercise programmes; weight management and more.
  • Groups for those with additional needs – such as for those with learning and physical disabilities.
  • Community activity and social groups – from cooking and healthy eating groups to arts and crafts.
  • Befriending services, volunteering and Time Bank programmes.
  • Social Welfare, Legal Advice and Money Management groups.
  • Adult learning and skills development programmes.
  • Employability programmes – including those that promote work experience placements in local settings increasing learner’s skills and confidence
  • Employment programmes – with Employment Brokers supporting local people into employment.

GPs, nurses, health care assistants and reception staff are often in a unique position to understand the wider needs of their patients and through the Social Prescriber we are able to support them to improve the overall health and wellbeing of their patients.

Watch the video below to hear from Peter and others on how they have been supported through the Social Prescriber project: