Oxford Social Prescribing Research Network launches website

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The Oxford Social Prescribing Research Network have launched a new website which brings the University of Oxford's world-class evidence-based research around social prescribing into one place.

This interdisciplinary network consists of members of the University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (part of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences) and colleagues from Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM), alongside members of the public, clinical providers, policymakers and other researchers.

Together they work to understand different perspectives on social prescribing, how patients’ health and well-being can benefit, and the mechanisms through which social prescribing delivery can be optimised.

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing recognises that people’s health and well-being can be influenced by social, economic and environmental circumstances. Social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs holistically, empowering them to take more control of their health. It involves linking people with ‘non-medical’ needs affecting their health or well-being (e.g. loneliness, debt, housing difficulties) to relevant local groups or organisations.

Through social prescribing people are connected to charitable, voluntary and community organisations. They may also be encouraged to engage with greenspace, library, museum, heritage and arts environments. Activities could include luncheon clubs, walking groups, debt advice or cultural pursuits.

While research on social prescribing is increasing, there is a need for more robust and systematic evidence of its efficacy and how it is best deployed. This is an area in which Oxford is well placed to become a world leader.

The Network is committed to using evidence-based research and innovation to address key influences and challenges that affect people's health and well-being. This is particularly relevant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term consequences that this will have on people’s lives. They also aim to better understand the effects of interventions such as engagement with GLAM’s collections on people’s well-being and mental health.

New website

The new Oxford Social Prescribing Research Network website is dedicated to exploring ways in which community organisations and groups can support people’s health and well-being, and how best to integrate evidence and innovation around social prescribing. All past, ongoing and new projects will be hosted on the website, alongside research findings, blogs, news items, reports and events.

For more information about the Oxford Social Prescribing Research Network, please contact:

Stephanie Tierney: stephanie.tierney@phc.ox.ac.uk

Kamal R. Mahtani: kamal.mahtani@phc.ox.ac.uk

Lucy Shaw: lucy.shaw@glam.ox.ac.uk