We wanted to find out about awareness of social prescribing in Buckinghamshire, as well as whether people have made use of the service and know how to access it.

  • We developed an online survey that was available for Bucks residents to complete between 12 May and 4 July 2022.
  • We also went to four libraries – Chesham, Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Buckingham – so we could collect responses directly from members of the public.
  • In addition, we researched what local GP surgeries said about social prescribing on their websites.

Key findings

  • Most of the people who completed our survey had not heard of social prescribing. However, when given a high-level explanation of the service, the majority felt it was a good idea.
  • Many people remained cautious about the idea of social prescribing because of a lack of knowledge.
  • More women than men had heard of social prescribing.
  • People aged over 56 were less likely than younger people to say they’d consider using the services of a social prescriber in the future.
  • Many GP surgeries’ websites did not provide much, if any, information about social prescribing or how to access the service.

Our recommendations

Although awareness of social prescribing is low, our survey showed people were very positive about the benefits it could offer.

We recommend that the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) works with local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and general practices to raise awareness of social prescribing – both what it is and how to use it.

This could involve:

  • Displaying more posters in general practice waiting areas
  • Sharing information about social prescribing with Patient Participation Groups (PPGs)
  • Encouraging the sharing and displaying of posters about social prescribing in community hubs
  • Holding briefings for local councillors and other key stakeholders to increase their knowledge of social prescribing
  • Targeting advertising to help reach specific groups, such as men or people aged over 56.

Downloads

Social Prescribing: Awareness Levels in Buckinghamshire – Full report

A response to our report from BOB ICB

BOB ICB’s updated response to Healthwatch Bucks

Published on 16 Aug, 2022 (updated 6 Jul, 2023)

3 comments on "Awareness of social prescribing in Buckinghamshire"

  • Commenter said on 31st August 2022

    I am a volunteer for our practice’s Social Prescriber. My observation, is its no good promoting the service unless you have more volunteers to link with them.

    I have worked in the community all my career. When I retired I linked with Mind, Barnardos and with our Practices Social Prescriber. I am only with SP now as it is a very responsible ‘job’… not for all. I had no actual training only my experience, so this is an area that when promoting SP this should run with it. My career was training so I would like to see a Trainer with the SP talking to volunteers covering what they may expect and always encourage FEEDBACK to SP if concerned. I speak to my SP when I feel it necessary and she will report to the GP should it be necessary.

  • Commenter said on 31st August 2022

    It was a good to see work being done on Social prescribing. The survey was surprising in the fact that although 0ver 50’s were probably more likely to need to utilize the service, less likely to use it.. But the major problem i felt was that people don’t know WHAT its does! Our own surgery has set up community sessions for people to go and chat about it. There are posters up around the village but NO EXPLANTION of what a social prescriber may do! But if people are to attend they need to know what it is! So more work at surgery level if it is to be utilized well.

  • Commenter said on 1st June 2023

    I contacted the service, as I needed more connection to others in my local area. The SP was very helpful, and there were some options – but sadly only for much older people. I’m 65, and there seems to be not much on for people of my generation. I’m joining U3A, but that, too, tends to be much older. I’d volunteer to help with Social Prescribing if I knew how to . . . It largely seems to be invisible in this big community, though.

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