Social prescribing in Oldham

This case study is an example of the practical use of asset-based approaches in communities.

We know medicines alone are only part of the story. We can improve health and wellbeing far better by GPs, and others, linking people to a wide variety of activities, groups, agencies and social support. We marked the world’s first Social Prescribing Day in Oldham by commissioning a pioneering three-year innovation partnership through a local consortium of voluntary and community organisations.

This approach provides the local consortium with the flexibility and agility needed to truly connect and engage with the reality of people’s lives. Rigid specifications that fail to connect to such lived experience frequently also fail to achieve the impact required. In the first seven months of operating almost 300 people have been supported through connections to local activities such as walking groups, or coffee mornings. For these early engagers in the service, GP appointments have reduced by more than 60 per cent, with a more than 90 per cent reduction in attendances at A&E.