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Why are we going ‘light’ on social prescribing?

We are often asked in the Wellbeing Scripts project as to why we use the term ‘light’ social prescribing rather than just social prescribing. We have been guided by Kimberlee’s (2015) analysis of a range of existing programs which identified four levels of social prescription: Signposting; and Social Prescribing Light, Medium and Holistic.

Our ‘why’ for a focus on signposting and ‘social prescribing ‘light’, sees a combination of provision of information to patients and community members, and referral between General practice and Neighbourhood Houses (potentially in both directions). Further:

  • It is human-centred in design – created by the people using the system for their context, purpose, and community need
  • It is sustainable– taps into and uses existing capacity and capability, removes us from the searching for funding treadmill
  • Is a ‘Value add’ relationship – there is great value for GPs and Houses in connecting and referring for their community
  • It further unlocks mutual benefit– at a time of great need to socially connect people
  • It is asset based – we go with the energy in the system for greatest likelihood of change and uptake
  • Is place-generated and created – fit for purpose for that community and that GP and NH relationship
  • It has potential for growth– we can learn and iterate, creating solutions that meet the actual needs and opportunities at hand 

As Nicole Battle, CEO Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, puts it “Wellbeing Scripts can be mutualistic with the Neighbourhood Houses being able to refer patients to GPs”.

Put simply we do not want to get too caught up in the enormous size of the effort and resourcing required to shift the health care system to social prescription. This takes time and resources. 

So how might we contribute to this holistic system as it emerges? We aim to demonstrate how bespoke scripts can be developed and used for everyone’s benefit, we do not see the need to wait- rather, we intend for our regions Wellbeing Script to compliment and inform.