What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker? Social Prescribing Link Workers use strength-based approaches to increase people’s confidence to take control of their health and wellbeing. They work in partnership with people, actively listening to understand what matters to them from a holistic perspective, cocreating action plans and goals to meet their needs. This means they need to gain and maintain people’s trust and confidence.

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker

Social Prescribing Link Workers undertake varying roles and responsibilities dependent on the local social prescribing model. However these generic core summary applies.
Someone who:

✓ Uses a strength based approach to increase people’s confidence to take control of their health wellbeing

✓ Builds trust and relationships with people

✓ Gives people time to talk about what matters to them

✓ Actively listens to understand what matters to people from a holistic perspective

✓ Co-creates solutions with people

✓ Enables and supports access to solutions

✓ Facilitates joined up care and social inclusiveness

✓ Is knowledgeable about the range of local support available to help with people’s wellbeing issues

Recommended references:

Code of Practice for Social Prescribing

NHS England Social Prescribing reference guide for Primary Care Networks

Social prescribing link worker: 3 things primary care networks should do to increase successful delivery

Social prescribing is a win win situation for primary care networks and their local population. Supported and resilient link workers are a trusted resource that can help general practice to help their patients with non-clinical needs, allowing GPs to focus on what they can do – their patients’ clinical needs. Link workers are an integral part of the primary care network team, delivering holistic service to patients and improving the health of the local population.

3 things primary care networks should do to increase successful delivery:

  1. Ensure the link worker’s role is interpreted same way not only in primary care but across the STP and nationally
  2. Ensure the link worker’s role is embedded in local workforce transformation and integrated care approaches
  3. Ensure link workers training is not disjointed but based on the link worker competency framework


This will ensure efficiency and consistency which will yield higher return on investment and patient experience.

The 1st ever national social prescribing link worker success conference holds on 8th July.

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5 tips to developing a community centred social prescribing service

Social prescribing is about adopting a community development approach:

• Seeing the community as part of the solution and not the problem.
• Power shifting to the community to do something for itself.
• Engaging with the community in order to empower them.
• Citizen power rather than tokenistic or consultative engagement.

Arnstein, Ladder of Citizen Participation (1969).

5 tips to developing a community centred social prescribing service

• Identify the problem you are going to use social prescribing to solve
• Find out the real influencers in the community. This could be individually who do not usually get involved
• Go out to the community to earn some credibility and build trust
• Co-produce solutions with the community
• Empower the community to deliver the solutions

Save the date: 8th July 2019 is a day to celebrate social prescribing link workers nationally.

Are you a social prescribing link worker or a social prescribing organisation? Join the only professional membership network of link workers and their employers to realise your FULL potential.

Questions, enquiries and comments are welcome, please email info@connectlink.org

7 key social prescribing highlights from The PHE annual conference 2018

The conference this year had 3 themes:

  1. Reducing inequalities
  2. Making the economic case for prevention
  3. Using world leading science and innovation to protect and improve the health and wellbeing

7 key social prescribing highlights from the event:

  1. People are living longer but in poorer health
  2. The gap between the affluent and the poor is on the increase; there is no good health without income.
  3. We will not close this gap if we always did what we have always done
  4. We need to help people make healthier choices to live longer in good health
  5. Healthcare is only accountable to about 20% of our health; the rest is down to choices such as (Smoking, Diet, Exercise, Alcohol)
  6. For the reason above, we need to address the 80% so that people use healthcare appropriately
  7. Government, commissioners and organisations should ensure their policies do not indirectly increase inequality E.g where services do not actually reach those most in need of it or benefits only a few.

Social prescribing aims to help reduce inequalities, prevent ill-health, promote health equity and human rights. This is the reason we think EVERYONE not SOME should have access to a well-resourced social prescribing service to deliver positive population wellbeing outcomes. To increase positive wellbeing outcomes for an individual we need a thriving social prescribing workforce.

Since 20% of our health is accountable to healthcare; we need to provide social prescribing as the solution to the 80% that are largely non-medical. This is basically a no brainer, isn’t it! We need to stop over medicating people unnecessarily but rather support them live longer in good health by addressing the non-medical wellbeing issues affecting their health. What do you think!

The launch of the health profile for England 2018

The health profile for England 2018 was launched at the event. It is hoped that the easy to understand health profile data will help break down barriers to collaboration in finding solutions to improve people’s health and to help inform the long-term plan for the NHS.

If YOU are an individual or organisation who is involved in social prescribing and would like to improve positive wellbeing outcomes become a member of the National Association of Link Workers

Useful links

Public Health England 
The National Association of Link Workers
NHS long term plan consultation 
Health profile for England 

Do you have a social prescribing job/volunteer opportunity? We can list your opportunity for free on our website and other channels. Get intouch team@connectlink.org

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4 social prescribing priorities revealed at NHS Expo 18

The NHS Health and Innovation Expo 2018 was held in Manchester on 5th and 6th September.

We were excited that this year’s Expo had a focus on prevention and social prescribing because we know that our health and care needs today are different from those the NHS was designed 70years ago.

As a result, adapting to patients needs means focusing on a personalised care approach and preventing the root causes of ill-health rather than waiting to treat it’s consequences. The good news is that social prescribing is one of the major responses to this.

We look forward to social prescribing and prevention featuring in the long term plan for the NHS. Help develop the plan 

These 4 NHS England Social Prescribing (SP) priorities were revealed at the event

  1. Support the commissioning of local SP community connector schemes as part of a personalised care approach
  2. Support mental health trusts to connect people to community groups
  3. This depends on partnership working, sustainable local voluntary organisations and community groups
  4. Support offer includes regional SP networks, online collaboration, Common Outcomes Framework, mapping existing schemes

What next?

We need a thriving social prescribing workforce to help increase positive wellbeing outcomes for themselves, individuals and communities.

Firstly, the social prescribing workforce should have access to this opportunity

Useful links

Do you have a social prescribing job/volunteer opportunity? We can list your opportunity for free on our website and other channels. Get intouch, team@connectlink.org

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @ConnectLinkOrg

How to set the social prescribing workforce up for success

We know that our health is affected by other ‘factors’ outside of healthcare, hence the need for social prescribing; to help tackle the ‘factors’ in order to improve a person’s overall wellbeing.

How to set the social prescribing workforce up for success:

I am very grateful I sign up, a well-constructed course for the target audience of GP Practice and voluntary and charitable staff involved with social prescribing or community navigation to develop new knowledge and skills to improve wellbeing- Link worker

Our FREE online course helps to:

  • Increase confidence and knowledge: understand link working
  • Be empowered: reduce risk and increase success in link working; role guidance
  • Understand opportunities: whole picture view. Link working career path

We will be digging deeper into this topic in another post, so stay tuned! In the meantime Get FREE members of The National Association of Link Workers

For further information, email info@connectlink.org

How to attract and retain volunteer link workers

People volunteer for various reasons, therefore to attract and retain volunteer link workers, attention must be given to their reasons for volunteering.

Two broad categories of volunteer link workers.

1. Those of state pension age

2. Those NOT of state pension age

The needs of volunteers in the 2 categories may not be the same. For instance, category 2 volunteer link workers may not have a FREE freedom bus pass for travelling and may require travel subsistence.

To attract and retain volunteer link workers consider these 11 questions.

1. What mix of volunteers are you attracting and is the mix representative of the population you are serving?

2. How flexible is your volunteering programme?

3. Do you know your volunteer motivations and aspirations for volunteering?

4. How do you engage with volunteers and make them feel valued?

5. Is there an opportunity to return to volunteering?

6. What provision is available for volunteer subsistence? No volunteer should be out of pocket as a result of volunteering

7. Do you have a minimum period for volunteering? E.g. 6months

8. How attractive is your volunteering programme and what do volunteers get in return for volunteering? See link worker courses

9. What development opportunities and support are available for volunteers? See link worker courses

10. Are you utilising your volunteer skills and knowledge? You can actually create different roles to account for this if there is interest

11. How do you keep volunteers informed of impact and progress?

For more information on how to attract and retain volunteer link workers email info@connectlink.org or for link worker training visit https://elearning.connectlink.org

What every non-clinical ‘link’ worker must know

A non-clinical link worker role:  Some things to think about

The role of a non-clinical link worker isn’t new.  

What is new is the growing evidence that this type of role can play an invaluable part in helping to meet the national priority of ‘improving population health and wellbeing’.

Growing evidence is resulting in:


    New interest in the role:

    From organisations: those interested in providing a ‘link’ service and

    From people: those already performing a link worker role or are interested in considering the role (see our Non-Clinical Career Pathway).

    Need for clarification of the role:

    Currently the role is being referred to with different language, different titles dependent on the type of organisation (e.g. health care, social care and community or charity). (see our ‘Connect Link’ support:  roles and scope)


Some clarification:

The role of a link worker can be as a paid employee or as a volunteer (we’ll talk about a volunteer role in a different blog post as it brings with it its own unique set of considerations).

Whether as a paid or volunteer role, the function is the same:

Gain understanding and create access:  ‘connect’ and ‘link’


     “Spend time understanding clients’ individual situation, needs and aspirations and then

     Help them to access community based support and activities (e.g. peer support groups, debt counselling, housing assistance, etc.) and to utilise their own skills and experience through volunteering.  

     The expectation is that this type of support will help people be well and independent in the community, thereby, in time, reducing demand on primary and secondary care services and preventing the escalation of need.”  (source:  Wigan Community Link Worker (CLW) service)


    Click below for links to key documents or sites that may be of interest.

·          Improving population health:  https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/what-does-improving-population-health-mean

·        Wigan-CLW-service-evaluation:  http://www.innovationunit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Wigan-CLW-service-evaluation.pdf

·        Social prescribing:  what is it?:  https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-prescribing