A community approach
to health & wellbeing

What's it all about?

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We help Adults
to explore better
health options


SPRING is active
in Northern Ireland
and Scotland


Our service
is available in
30 communities


We serve areas
covering 1.5
million patients

Medicine isn't always the answer

SPRING Social Prescribing is a way to link medical care to (typically) non-clinical, locally delivered support services. It enables medical professionals to refer their patients to a range of activities and services, recognising a social model of health in which wellbeing is determined by a variety of factors. SPRING empowers patients and communities, supports greater independence, reduces reliance on primary healthcare, and ultimately delivers better outcomes for people and society.

For example; if a patient presents to a GP who is suffering from loneliness, anxiety or physical inactivity, the patient needs more than medicine to improve their wellbeing.  The GP can refer the patient to a Social Prescriber who is based in a community health organisation. The Social Prescriber and patient co-create a health plan, giving the patient control of their own health journey.  The Social Prescriber supports the patient throughout their journey. Social prescribing at its best is not a signposting exercise or indeed a referral direct to a community service/activity etc.  It involves building relationships, taking a holistic approach and engaging individuals at the heart of the process. 

The SPRING Social Prescribing project is a partnership between Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum, the Healthy Living Centre Alliance and Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing.  As the largest co-ordinated project of its kind, a network of 30 community-led health organisations will come together to deliver Social Prescribing services in communities across Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

The long-term goal of SPRING Social Prescribing is to support and encourage the culture shift from the medical model to the social model of health. There is increased recognition that the social model of health can reduce the pressure on NHS services including GP’s.  

SPRING Social Prescribing will make a difference to patients, primary care and communities by ultimately deliver better health outcomes for people and society.  

Core objectives

  • Support 8,000 patients, who will co-create a social prescription
  • Co-ordinate 96,000 interventions
  • Improve peoples’ health and wellbeing outcomes across 30 communities in Northern Ireland and Scotland 
  • Create easy referral pathways 
  • Strengthen links between Primary Care and the third sector 
  • Influence policy makers at regional and national levels
  • Embed social prescribing as part of the NHS long term plan
  • Change the way that healthcare budgets are set 
  • Shift the focus towards preventative spend
  • Influence spend on health and wellbeing in the community

Primary Care Testimonials

Dr Paul Molloy, Clarendon Medical Centre, Derry 

“Social prescribing has recognised that the traditional model of delivery of health care is not really working. Social prescribing is a good method by which GPs can refer patients to a social prescriber who looks at the overall picture of a person and puts together a package of support that doesn’t rely on prescription medication or referrals to hospital. 

“It therefore increases patient’s self-reliance and well-being and benefits the whole community.  Social prescribing integrates people into the community, allowing them to develop good friendships. The attraction to the health service is that it will hopefully reduce people’s reliance on statutory health care”. 

Dr Audrey Francis, Gourock Medical Practice, Inverclyde

I'm finding Social Prescribing great so far - the more I've referred the easier it gets and I’m getting good feedback to the patient’s I’ve seen back.  I even referred my first male patient today. 

Patients so far are thrilled with the service so I'm always keen to send more your way.

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