From dependence to independence: emerging lessons from the Rotherham Social Prescribing Pilot

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Bashir N, Dayson C, Pearson S

Year of Publication:

Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research

Publication Type:


This is the first report from the independent evaluation of the innovative Rotherham Social Prescribing Pilot being undertaken by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University.

Solutions for improving the health and well-being of people from marginalised and disadvantaged groups that place greater emphasis on preventative interventions have become increasingly common in public policy. Social prescribing commissions services that will prevent worsening health for people with existing LTCs and reduce costly interventions in specialist care. It links patients in primary care and their carers with non-medical sources of support within the community.

The Rotherham Social Prescribing Model is based around a core team consisting of a Project Manager and five Voluntary and Community Sector Advisors. The pilot is being delivered by Voluntary Action Rotherham (VAR) on behalf of NHS Rotherham CCG. It runs from April 2012 to March 2014 as part of a wider GP-led Integrated Case Management Pilot and aims to increase the capacity of GP practices to meet the non-clinical needs of their patients with long term conditions (LTCs).

Since September 2012 the pilot has engaged with 28 GP Practices in Rotherham to receive referrals as part of the Case Management Pilot. Overall, 808 referrals were made in the first 12 months compared to an initial target of 625. It is estimated that around 1,400 patients and carers will have engaged with the service by March 2014.

The ability of the Pilot to demonstrate impact on patients’ need for hospital based services is a key measure of its success. Reductions in three types of hospital episodes have been identified compared to the six months prior to referral:
Accident and Emergency attendances reduced by 21 per cent
Hospital admissions reduced by nine per cent
Outpatient appointments reduced by 29 per cent.

At this stage it is not possible to attribute these changes directly to Social Prescribing but they should be interpreted as positive sign of the potential of the service to have an impact on reducing resources in the longer term.

Evidence Type: Case Study

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Dayson, C., Bashir, N. and Pearson, S. (2013). From dependence to independence: emerging lessons from the Rotherham Social Prescribing Pilot. Sheffield: CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University.