health & social care
local government
voluntary sector

Social Prescribing: Effectively Improving Health Outcomes

health & social care

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:00

Wednesday 29 January 2020

America Square Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum will provide participants with the opportunity to support the delivery of personalised care through social prescribing. Attendees will hear from leading policymakers about the latest guidance and funding to support NHS organisations to direct patients to local voluntary, community and public sector support services. Delegates will also hear from leading case studies taking an active, successful approach to deliver sustainable models of social prescribing to successfully reduce GP and A&E consultation times.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Health, Voluntary and Local Government Sectors. Typical job titles will include:

  • Commissioning Managers/Leads
  • Chief Executives
  • Finance Policy Managers
  • Heads of Integrated Finance
  • Care and Support Officers
  • Councillors
  • Service Improvement Managers
  • Partnership Officers
  • Heads of Quality Assurance
  • Service Development Officers
  • Area Managers
  • Strategic Leads
  • NHS Service Development Managers
  • Project Directors
  • Service Implementation Managers
  • Population Health Leads
  • Heads of Health and Social Care

This Forum is also open to the wider public and private sector to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Rt Hon. the Lord Howarth of Newport CBE, Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing
  • James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care, NHS England
  • Linda Hindle, Lead Allied Health Professional, Public Health England
View the agenda and additional speakers

80% of patients who are referred to social prescribing schemes have reduced their use of A&E and other primary care services after 3 to 4 months of using these schemes. Individuals supported by social prescribing have helped to reduce A&E attendance by 24%, reducing some of the pressure on the NHS.

One of the key aims of the NHS Long Term Plan is implementing personalised care for patients to give people more control over how they are treated. The NHS has highlighted social prescribing as a key method to achieve the goal of delivering personalised care to 2.5 million people by 2023/24. Public Health England released their Social Prescribing: Applying All Our Health guidance in June 2019, with the aim of helping front-line staff to promote the benefits of social prescribing. Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSE) can apply for funding from the Health and Wellbeing Fund to expand the social prescribing services that they offer.

It was announced in October 2019 that the Government has set up a new initiative to encourage social prescribing activities across the UK, The National Academy for Social Prescribing. This independence academy will receive £5 million in government funding to help improve social prescribing services, increase awareness of the benefits and social prescribing and share best practice models. The academy has been set up in partnership with government, Sport England, Arts Council England and the voluntary sector.

Public Health England published a report on the Effectiveness of Social Prescribing in July 2019 which looked at the impact that it has had on primary care and patients overall health. The report concluded that without better quality evidence it is hard to know what the effectiveness of social prescribing will be, leaving the debate very much open for discussion. Although research into the overarching impact of social prescribing is scarce, NHS England have committed to providing 1,000 additional link workers by 2021 with the aim of encouraging social prescribing.

With the NHS being stretched to its limits, it is now even more important that the health sector is fully taking advantage of social prescribing schemes to provide extra support for individuals to reduce the strain on NHS services. In order to fully take advantage of social prescribing services, health services need to implement cultural and structural changes that embrace the ethos of personalised care for all patients.

James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care, NHS England

James Sanderson is the Director of Personalised Care at NHS England, leading a range of programmes that are helping to empower people to have greater choice and control over their care.  Under his leadership, personalised care has become integral to the Long Term Plan for the NHS, as one of the five major practical changes identified in the plan.


James joined NHS England in November 2015, and was formerly Chief Executive and Accounting Officer for the Independent Living Fund (ILF). The ILF supported disabled people across the whole of the UK to live independent lives through the provision of direct payments enabling the purchase of personal assistance support.


After graduating, James embarked on a career in the private sector before joining the ILF in 2002 to undertake a number of senior roles including Operations Director with responsibility for front line service delivery, and Business Development Director with responsibility for performance development, change management and information governance.

Linda Hindle, Deputy Chief Allied Health Professional Officer, Public Health England

Linda Hindle is the Deputy Chief Allied Health Professional Officer; she works for Public Health England as Lead AHP and Public Health Engagement Lead for the Emergency Services.  She is responsible for championing and supporting the contribution of the 14 Allied Health Professions, Fire, Ambulance and Police services to improving the public’s health across England, as well as supporting the national health and wellbeing programmes co-ordinated by Public Health England.

Linda is a co-founder of AHPs4PH, a social media community of practice for AHPs with an interest in public health, and a trustee for the charity Sport Inspired.  Linda has previously worked as a consultant dietitian as well as in commissioning and service management.  She has experience of working in and with Local Authority, NHS, private sector, research and education organisations.

Tara Case, Chief Executive, Ways to Wellness

Tara is the Chief Executive of Ways to Wellness, a non-profit delivering a large-scale social prescribing service in Newcastle upon Tyne and the first health service in the UK with social impact (SIB) funding. Tara has led Ways to Wellness since its launch in early 2015. Previously, she worked in NHS commissioning and as an Occupational Therapist in England and Canada. She is a Non-Executive Director of the North East Social Investment CIC and an outgoing Fellow of Practice at University of Oxford’s Government Outcome Lab. Outside of work, Tara enjoys running, yoga and family time.

Rt Hon. the Lord Howarth of Newport CBE, Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

The Right Honourable The Lord Howarth of Newport CBE was a Member of the British House of Commons between 1983 and 2005. He has been Schools Minister, Minister for Higher Education and Science and Minister for Employment, Equal Opportunities and Disabled People. In 2014 he set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. The All-Party Group conducted a 2 year Inquiry into Arts, Health and Wellbeing and the Inquiry Report, Creative Health, was launched in the House of Commons in July 2017. The All-Party Group continues to support the implementation of the ten recommendations in the report.

Debbie Hicks MBE, Creative Director, The Reading Agency

Debbie Hicks is a founder member and creative director at The Reading Agency, a national charity working tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. She is a committed reading activist specializing in reading as a health and well-being intervention. She has played a leading role in national research and strategy work in this area. She leads the Reading Agency’s work on the Public Library Health Offer including the Reading Well Books on Prescription Scheme and Reading Friends, a Community Lottery funded reading befriending programme for lonely and isolated older people.

Gary Deighton, Social Prescription Hub Coordinator, Forest of Dean District Council

Gary Deighton is the service manager for the Community Wellbeing Service (social Prescribing) and Exercise Referral scheme. This involves working with partners in the voluntary and community sector, public health, local government and the NHS to deliver local projects in the district using a ‘practice based model’ of social prescribing. Our work is helping to bring communities together as part of a wider ‘Community Engagement Team’ here at FODDC and I have been fortunate to be involved in developing Social Prescribing in Gloucestershire since 2014. I’m married and have two sons and I’m a volunteer with their local Junior Football team. I’m generally positive and always optimistic; (which is helpful when you support Leeds United FC.) – feel free to delete this bit if word count is too high!


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Helen Chatterjee, Professor of Biology, University College London (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Session: Setting the Scene and Having Your Voice Heard

The day will begin with a 20 minute interactive session, led by the Chair, in which delegates will be able to ask questions, raise their key concerns and inform the Chair of what they would like to discuss during the course of the day.

This will inform debate and direct the conversation throughout the day so that attendees are confident that their most pressing concerns and desired learning objectives will be covered.


Morning Keynote: Understanding the Impact that Social Prescribing Will Have on Ensuring Personalised Care for Patients

  • Outlining the impact that the rise of social prescribing will have on helping the NHS to meet goals set out within the long term plan to make personalised care ‘business as usual’
  • Understanding the progress made by the NHS to employ more than 1,000 Social Prescribing link workers by the end of 2021 with the aim of connecting patients with the wider community
  • Highlighting how more personalised health care will allow patients to have more control and choice over their treatment and allow them to utilise social prescribing activities
  • Sharing guidance on how to effectively embed social prescribing link workers into primary care networks with the aim of providing additional capacity into multi-disciplinary teams
  • Exploring how the NHS should be working with local charities and local governments to encourage alternative health and social care support in local communities

James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care, NHS England (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Supporting Health Care Professional Engagement in Social Prescribing

  • Outlining the core principles of social prescribing for healthcare professionals, including how it will allow patients to have more control over their care and promote health and wellbeing for everyone
  • Discussing the Driving forward social prescribing: A framework for Allied Health Professionals and the four main ways that AHPs can engage with social prescribing
  • Outlining the varying levels of input needed to engage with social prescribing including active signposting, referrals to link workers, AHPs as social prescribers and AHPs promoting and developing social prescribing
  • Taking action to implement social prescribing services from a managerial standpoint by encouraging collaborative relations between health care workers and link workers
  • Exploring how strategic leaders can look at the professional development of their workforce to ensure that they are implementing high quality social prescribing interventions

Linda Hindle, Lead Allied Health Professional, Public Health England (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Utilising Local Social Prescribing Partnerships to Managing Long Term Conditions

  • Outlining the Ways to Wellness model, a social prescribing service supporting up to 10,000 people with long-term conditions, enabled by a commitment of £1.65 million investment through a Social Impact Bond
  • Discussing how Ways to Wellness works with 17 GP practices across Newcastle to help refer patients with long-term conditions to a link worker who will establish a relationship with patients in order to connect them with appropriate community and voluntary groups
  • Sharing guidance on how Ways to Wellness was able to overcome challenges such as gaining funding from the NHS for an innovate outcomes-based programme
  • Exploring how securing funding has allowed Ways to Wellness to boost their services and create a structure to work with other health care services
  • Understanding how the services provided by Ways to Wellness help individuals to take control over their care and learn how to self-manage their conditions to relieve some strain from traditional health services

Tara Case, Chief Executive, Ways to Wellness (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Delivering Social Prescribing Through Local Libraries to Enhance Patient Knowledge

  • Exploring how the Reading Agency have created the Reading Well programme with the aim of helping people to better understand their own health and wellbeing through providing useful books within community libraries
  • Outlining how GPs or other health professionals can refer patients to this scheme and they can visit their local libraries to read these books free of charge
  • Understanding how local libraries can provide vital social prescribing services within communities by providing patients with the information and support they need to take ownership over their health and provide them with a safe environment to discuss their health
  • Discussing the success of this scheme, including helping individuals to boost their confidence and provide them with advice on coping with health problems such as mental ill-health

Debbie Hicks MBE, Creative Director, The Reading Agency (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Outlining the Current Landscape of Social Prescribing within the UK

  • Understanding the impact that the arts can have on treating people’s mental and physical health through social prescribing
  • Highlighting the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing in supporting and promoting the applications of the arts in helping long term health conditions and removing the pressure from the NHS
  • Outlining the importance of partnership and collaborative working to ensure the successful implementation of social prescribing programmes
  • Examining the current challenges facing the expansion of social prescribing including the lack of funding for third sector organisations

Rt Hon. the Lord Howarth of Newport CBE, Co-Chair,All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Establishing a Social Prescribing Hub to Increase the Impact of Community Services

  • Outlining how the Forest of Dean District Council and Gloucestershire CCG worked together to establish a successful social prescribing hub by working with local voluntary sector organisations
  • Highlighting how this hub gained funding from the government’s Challenge Fund to help expand this service to help all GP surgeries within the region
  • Examining how the hub helped improve the quality of life for local residents by providing services that went beyond the direct medical needs of patients by challenging issues such as loneliness and bereavement
  • Exploring the success of this project and understanding how this hub has been rolled out to all GP and primary care services within the area

Gary Deighton, Social Prescription Hub Coordinator, Forest of Dean District Council (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Providing Person Centred Maternity Care through Social Prescribing

  • Outlining how the Improving ME programme helped to support parents through the Baby Box scheme and Baby Box University which provided expectant mothers with standardised parental education and peer support
  • Understanding how the Baby Box pilot scheme led to a new way of engaging women and families and provided integrated care for women within the community.
  • Highlighting the impact that social prescribing has had on maternity services and outcomes in the area with examples of good practice.
  • Discussing how this programme enables local NHS services deliver a person centred approach to maternity care whilst tackling health inequalities

Catherine McClennan, Programme Director, Maternity and Gynaecology, Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s and Children’s Partnership (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Creating a Community Centre Hub for Social Prescribing to Improve Patient Access

  • Understanding the services provided by the Bromley by Bow Centre, including health services, activities, support groups and sports clubs
  • Exploring how the centre has evolved over the last 35 years to become a centre for social prescribing that supports over 2,500 people a month
  • Outlining how the Bromley by Bow Centre works with voluntary organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Support to provide extended services to more patients within the community
  • Highlighting how Bromley by Bow Centre acts as a hub to bring together NHS Funded health services as well as advice services provided by Tower Hamlets Council

Sara Thomas, Insights Manager, Bromley by Bow Centre (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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