Social Prescribing and Community Orientation Group

Social Prescribing and Community Orientation is a new WONCA Europe Special Interest Group.

Social prescribing is a means of referring patients in primary care to activities within their community that could improve their health and wellbeing, often addressing isolation and loneliness. These sources of support can cover a wide range of activities such as craft groups, exercise programmes, dancing, photography, gardening all of which also enable people to meet with other people on a social basis.

In 2018 a group of European rural primary care healthcare professionals came together through their established WONCA Europe network EURIPA to share their experiences of social prescribing.  Following a workshop on social prescribing, a pan-European working group was established in 2021 and has since been growing in terms of strength and breadth of expertise, and impact, through collaboration with members from across Europe (both urban and rural).

Through sharing experiences it became clear that social prescribing has the potential to make a big difference to communities and individuals served by their primary care teams. Advantages of social       prescribing include reduction in practice visits, building social capital, the personal development of individuals, and benefit to the community.

This in combination with a growing evidence base has led to the aim to embed social prescribing in primary care and in the community.