Social Prescriber

Social prescribing link workers (SPLWs) give people time to focus on what matters to them, as identified through shared decision making or personalised care and support planning.

They connect people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support. They work within multidisciplinary teams and collaborate with local partners to support community groups to be accessible and sustainable and help people to start new groups.

More about the role

SPLWs are one of three personalised care roles in primary care, the other two being care coordinators and health and wellbeing coaches (HWBCs).

SPLWs play a pivotal role by developing trusting relationships and providing personalised support. As a result, their work:

  • Strengthens community resilience
  • Reduces health inequalities by addressing the wider determinants of health, such as debt, poor housing and physical inactivity
  • Increases people’s active involvement with their local communities.

Social prescribing complements other approaches such as ‘active signposting’. SPLWs typically support people on average over 6-12 contacts (including phone calls, meetings and home visits) with a typical caseload of 200-250 people per year, depending on the complexity of people’s needs and the maturity of the social prescribing scheme.

NHS England provides information on supporting link workers in primary care networks (PCNs).

SPLW jobs can be found in various places including the NHS Jobs website.

Additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS)

From April 2020, this role will be reimbursed at 100% of actual salary plus defined on-costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £35,389 over 12 months. For social prescribing services sub-contracted by a Primary Care Network to another provider, the PCN may claim a contribution towards additional costs charged by the sub-contracted provider of up to £200 per month (£2,400 per year) for each whole time equivalent (WTE) that the sub-contracted provider has apportioned to the PCN related activity. The overall contribution claimed cannot exceed £200 per month and the total amount claimed must not exceed the maximum reimbursable amount for a social prescribing link worker. 


PCNs are required to ensure that social prescribing link workers complete the following training: 

Other useful information and support

  • NHS England provides an induction welcome pack for SPLWs.
  • Handout for practice staff to give to patients who are referred to a SPLW.
  • Social Prescribing Collaboration Platform on FutureNHS (requires registration). A collaborative workspace for SPLWs working with PCNs to access key documents and updates about social prescribing to support those in the role. Includes resources such as webinar recordings, case studies and forums to seek peer support. This space also hosts information relevant to colleagues working as commissioners of Social Prescribing services, PCN staff and ICS/STP staff.
  • The National Academy for Social Prescribing hosts Thriving Communities Webinars.
  • Monthly social prescribing national webinar series from NHS England on the second Wednesday of the month between 1pm – 2:30pm. For SPLW’s, team leaders, PCN teams, commissioners, ICS workforce and transformation leads and others working in either place-based or integrated care system roles.
  • draft SPLW Workforce Development Framework is available on the Social Prescribing Collaboration Platform.