Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Global developments in social prescribing
  1. Daniel F Morse1,
  2. Sahil Sandhu2,
  3. Kate Mulligan3,
  4. Stephanie Tierney4,
  5. Marie Polley5,
  6. Bogdan Chiva Giurca6,
  7. Siân Slade7,
  8. Sónia Dias8,
  9. Kamal R Mahtani9,
  10. Leanne Wells10,
  11. Huali Wang11,12,
  12. Bo ‍Zhao13,
  13. Cristiano Emanuel Marta De Figueiredo14,
  14. Jan Joost Meijs15,
  15. Hae Kweun Nam16,
  16. Kheng Hock Lee17,
  17. Carolyn Wallace18,
  18. Megan Elliott18,
  19. Juan Manuel Mendive19,
  20. David Robinson20,
  21. Miia Palo21,
  22. Wolfram Herrmann22,
  23. Rasmus Østergaard Nielsen23,24,
  24. Kerryn Husk25
  1. 1Social Prescribing USA, Austin, Texas, USA
  2. 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford Nuffield, Oxford, UK
  5. 5University of East London, London, UK
  6. 6National Academy for Social Prescribing, London, UK
  7. 7University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  8. 8Universidade Nova de Lisboa Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Lisbon, Portugal
  9. 9Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  10. 10Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Deakin, Victoria, Australia
  11. 11Peking University Institute of Mental Health, Beijing, China
  12. 12National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders, Beijing, China
  13. 13Health Administration, Yonsei University-Wonju Campus, Wonju, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea
  14. 14Central Lisbon Health Centre Cluster, Lisbon, Portugal
  15. 15Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
  16. 16Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Republic of Korea
  17. 17SingHealth Community Hospitals, Singapore
  18. 18University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK
  19. 19University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  20. 20Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  21. 21Lapland Hospital District, Rovaniemi, Finland
  22. 22Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  23. 23Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  24. 24Research Unit for General Practice, Aarhus, Denmark
  25. 25University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kerryn Husk; kerryn.husk{at}


Social prescribing is an approach that aims to improve health and well-being. It connects individuals to non-clinical services and supports that address social needs, such as those related to loneliness, housing instability and mental health. At the person level, social prescribing can give individuals the knowledge, skills, motivation and confidence to manage their own health and well-being. At the society level, it can facilitate greater collaboration across health, social, and community sectors to promote integrated care and move beyond the traditional biomedical model of health. While the term social prescribing was first popularised in the UK, this practice has become more prevalent and widely publicised internationally over the last decade. This paper aims to illuminate the ways social prescribing has been conceptualised and implemented across 17 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. We draw from the ‘Beyond the Building Blocks’ framework to describe the essential inputs for adopting social prescribing into policy and practice, related to service delivery; social determinants and household production of health; workforce; leadership and governance; financing, community organisations and societal partnerships; health technology; and information, learning and accountability. Cross-cutting lessons can inform country and regional efforts to tailor social prescribing models to best support local needs.

  • health education and promotion
  • health policy
  • health systems
  • public Health

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

View Full Text


  • DFM and SS are joint first authors.

  • Handling editor Stephanie M Topp

  • Twitter @sahil_sandhu20, @kerrynhusk

  • Contributors All authors led the paper’s conceptualisation and design, narrative development, local data and provided final approval.

  • Funding This report is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula. KM and ST are supported by an award from the University of Oxford John Fell Fund (project code 0010444).

  • Disclaimer The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Map disclaimer The inclusion of any map (including the depiction of any boundaries therein), or of any geographic or locational reference, does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of BMJ concerning the legal status of any country, territory, jurisdiction or area or of its authorities. Any such expression remains solely that of the relevant source and is not endorsed by BMJ. Maps are provided without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.