New social prescribing framework for physiotherapy staff is applauded by CSP

The CSP has welcomed the publication today of a social prescribing framework for allied health professionals (AHPs).

The framework offers guidance on how physios and other AHP can engage in social prescribing to meet the needs of different patient populations

CSP practice and development director Natalie Beswetherick described it as ‘very important’ for the profession.

The framework ‘Driving forward social prescribing’ was developed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), NHS Improvement/ England and Public Health England (PHE) to show the contribution AHPs make to social prescribing and how their role can be developed.

A survey undertaken as part of the development of the framework had 2,480 responses in two weeks – one quarter were from physiotherapy staff.


‘The framework covers a wide spectrum of physiotherapists and other allied health professionals engagement in social prescribing from “light-touch” through to intensive support for the different patient populations that physiotherapists manage,’ Ms Beswetherick said.

‘The framework is really easy to follow through. It is well designed and can be navigated quickly. And it gives some good examples of how to engage with social prescribing if you don’t already do it. I would encourage all members to have a look at it and see the value of you engaging with social prescribing in your daily practice.’

Case studies

The framework includes a wide range of case studies from different AHPs highlighting the work already being done to engage people with social prescribing.

They include physiotherapists Karen Dawe and Margot Hodgson.

‘Karen Dawe’s is a great example of physiotherapists using social prescribing in collaboration with a local leisure service provider for a population who were less likely to engage with physical activity and take greater control of their own health,’ Ms Beswetherick said.

Outside factors

And CSP member Aideen Larmer, who leads on public health for Connect Health, and was invited to be part of the development of the framework said: ‘Health is largely determined by factors outside of healthcare systems such as behaviours, social connectivity and living environments.

‘Physiotherapists frequently discuss wider determinants of health in consultations.

‘Often addressing these wider issues are an essential precursor to patients engaging effectively with physiotherapy treatment.

‘However we don't always have the ability to directly influence them. Social prescribing and active signposting can support addressing non-medical influences to health.

‘Social prescribing facilitates a more holistic and person-centred approach to addressing health problems and can assist patients to take greater control of their own health.’

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