Evaluating student perceptions and awareness of social prescribing

Educ Prim Care. 2019 Nov;30(6):361-367. doi: 10.1080/14739879.2019.1669223. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


The importance of Social Prescribing (SP) has been highlighted in the National Health Service (NHS) Long-Term Plan. SP is enabling healthcare professionals to refer patients to a link worker, to co-design a non-clinical social prescription to improve their health and well-being. Our aim was to explore perceptions, understanding, and awareness of SP amongst United Kingdom (UK) medical students.Views were collected using pre- and post-session surveys around teaching sessions in 27 UK medical schools as part of NHS England's National SP Student Champion Scheme. Pre-session surveys suggested 93% (n = 848) of respondents had not heard of the concept of SP before the session. Post-session surveys highlighted that 98% (n = 895) regarded the concept as useful and relevant to their future careers.Findings show a lack of awareness regarding Social Prescribing (SP) amongst UK medical students. New strategies are needed to ensure the doctors of tomorrow are equipped with the necessary tools to achieve the recent outcomes for graduates and implement plans for the NHS and general practice which highlight the importance of personalised care. We believe general practice can play an integral role in shaping values and beliefs amongst tomorrow's doctors through formal education and mentoring.

Keywords: Environment and public health; access; education; evaluation; health care facilities; health care quality; manpower and services; population characteristics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Physician's Role
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Social Welfare
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Voluntary Health Agencies