Hackney Social Prescribing service wins national award

We are pleased to announce that City and Hackney CCG’s Social Prescribing service, delivered by the national charity Family Action, has won the award for ‘best larger project’ at the Inaugural Social Prescribing Awards 2019.

Provided since 2014, the service covers all 42 GP practices in City and Hackney. Social prescribing, sometimes known as a community referral, is when primary care professionals such as GPs and nurses refer people to local, non-clinical services. This could mean linking people with signs of social isolation with a range of local community activities. For example, an older person suffering with loneliness might be connected with a local charity that facilitates group activities for older people, or someone struggling with their physical health might be referred to a community support group that offers different exercise classes.

The judges of the awards stated that ‘The project stood out in a crowded category, because it demonstrates extensive social prescribing across every practice. It’s a well-established service that develops and changes to meet participants’ needs’.

The service is led by Dr Patrick Hutt, a GP at Queensbridge Group Practice and designated Clinical Lead for social prescribing. The CCG and Family Action have worked with partners including the University of East London, The Health Foundation, Queen Mary University of London and Hackney Council to take a collaborative approach to service design, incorporating service user feedback and evaluation.

Dr Hutt said: ‘This is brilliant news. It has been a real privilege to see the social prescribing service develop. We are one of the first areas of the country to implement social prescribing at a larger scale – something the whole of England will be doing later this year. We are lucky to have so many local activities that can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing’. One testimonial from a patient credited the service as ‘patient, informative, kind and professional’.

Charlotte Painter, Programme Director for Long Term Conditions here at the CCG, said she was delighted that the service had won. Emel Hakki, Project Manager at Family Action, said of winning the award: ‘We have been able to develop and embed a model that has received positive feedback far and wide from professionals, other social prescribing services and service users. This is fantastic news, it means a lot to the social prescribing team to have their work acknowledged’.

The awards were presented at the University of Westminster during the first International Social Prescribing Network conference on July 11.