Social prescribing link workers: Reference guide for primary care networks

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Personalised Care Group

Year of Publication:

NHS England, NHS Improvement

Publication Type:


This NHS reference guide is provided as additional information to help primary care networks (PCNs), introduced in July 2019, incorporate the new role of social prescribing link worker into their multi-disciplinary teams, as part of the expansion to the primary care workforce introduced under the GP contract reforms. It builds on the local system guidance provided in the “Social Prescribing and Community Based Support Summary Guide” (see separate entry on this Repository).

In the first year of operation of PCNs, it is important for all partners, including NHS England, to learn from emerging practice, to build in feedback and review processes, and to hear from a wider range of perspectives in local areas and emerging primary care networks about opportunities and challenges.

Personalised care means all people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered, based on ‘what matters to me’ and individual strengths and diverse needs. This happens within a system that makes the most of the expertise, capacity and potential of people, families and communities in creating better health access, outcomes and experiences. Personalised care takes a whole-system approach, integrating services around the person.

Social prescribing is one of six key components of the NHS England comprehensive model for personalised care. Alongside shared decision making, personalised care and support planning, supported self-management, personal heath budgets and broader choice within the NHS, social prescribing enables people to be more involved in their care.

Social prescribing link workers are one of five additional roles being funded within primary care, to bring additional capacity into the multi-disciplinary team. The other roles are clinical pharmacists, physician associates, community paramedics, and physiotherapists. These roles will all help reduce workload on GPs and other staff, enrich the skill mix of primary care teams, and help GPs work “at the top of their licence”.

Evidence Type: Policy Document

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Context: Primary Care

Participant Group: Adults

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download