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Lynne Neagle MS, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

First published:
7 December 2023
Last updated:

Today, I am setting out our plans for a National Framework for Social Prescribing (NFfSP).

Social prescribing is an umbrella term that describes a way of connecting people, whatever their age or background, with their community to better manage their health and wellbeing.

Whilst the development of a NFfSP is a Programme for Government commitment, social prescribing across Wales is not new. It is woven into the very fabric of what Welsh Government does in terms of empowering people and communities.

In 2022, we ran a consultation exercise on a Welsh approach to social prescribing which received more than 190 responses, and a summary of the consultation responses is also published today. These have directly shaped the development of the NFfSP.

Social prescribing interventions have been developed and established in a bottom-up way across Wales, with individual contracted providers and clusters involved in health and care, third sector and statutory organisations developing different delivery models. 

While we welcome this grassroots approach, feedback from our consultation highlighted challenges caused by the lack of standardisation and consistency in the approach to social prescribing. These challenges included confusion among both public and the workforce who deliver or encounter social prescribing on the benefits it can offer, and impaired communication between sectors, professionals and with the public.

To provide reassurance about the consistency and quality of delivery across Wales and to respond to the issues raised as part of the consultation exercise, our planned NFfSP outlines the model of social prescribing in Wales, helps to develop a shared understanding of the language used to describe social prescribing, and aims to ensure consistency of delivery regardless of the setting. It does not intend to dictate how social prescribing is delivered in different communities, rather it will agree a common vision of social prescribing in Wales and support its growth by setting out effective, high-quality standards across a connected system.

Our consultation exercise also showed a need for more effective partnership working to ensure sustainability and to avoid duplication. I have written to Regional Partnership Boards asking them to nominate a social prescribing champion, to seek clarity on their current offer and inviting them to work with us on the further development and implementation of the framework.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals and organisations who responded to the consultation exercise and worked with us to shape our plans. I’d like to offer particular thanks to the members of my task and finish group.

I hope the framework will support a long-term sustainable future for social prescribing in Wales, which will support people to connect to the things that matter to them in their community, wherever in Wales that may be.