The wellbeing prescription: social prescribing in action at Alvanley Family Practice

When we started to map our community activities, with the help of our volunteer Practice Health Champions, we knew we would need a way to direct our patients to activities in a trusted way. I spoke to one of our volunteers, Dave Chorlton, who I knew had a background in print, when I talked to him in NHS speak about a directory of services, he talked about how hard done by he felt when he came away from an appointment without a prescription.

That’s when the penny dropped – we needed something like a prescription, so that the patients had something to hold on to, and the clinicians had a way of directing the patient to what they needed, which as many of us know is not available on an FP10 prescription! Dave went away to design something that looked enough like a prescription form to feel like a trusted document, and that line “the rest is history”.

Community wellbeing

The first iteration of the wellbeing prescription was written about five years ago and is now on version four. We have added things, removed things, changed the name of things, but the principal has something always been the same, to be able to direct or signpost our patients to community wellbeing activities.

The team at Alvanley do not run all activities, some we do like a regular practice walk, but others are already happening in our place, like the knitting group – which of course is great for keeping your mind and fingers busy (and the chat is great too), attendees say they started knitting for to do as they were lonely at home – now it’s a public activity and they teach people to knit and crochet and knit things for the community. It is amazing how quickly things develop.

Promoting the community

When a clinician sees a patient who needs a wellbeing solution they use the prescription. The patient completes the items that they would like to do and then hand it in at reception, then one of our volunteer Practice Health Champions will ring them (we view our volunteers like an enhanced Patient Participation Group; they are part of the practice team and give us great support).

The patient may have indicated on the form that they would like to go to the practice allotment, but during the conversation may indicate they are interested in something else; as our Practice Health Champions are local people they know many more activities than we can fit on the form – so they might talk about the bowling club or the flower arranging group or activities that happen at the local church.

The wellbeing prescription is a tool for conversation and a way of promoting everything that is great about your community.

About the writer

Kay Keane is Business Manager at the Alvanley Family Practice and leads the team of administrative staff. Kay is happy to be contacted further about the wellbeing prescription and can be reached on Twitter or via email at