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BMC Health Serv Res. 2018 Feb 7;18(1):86. doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-2893-4.

Facilitators and barriers of implementing and delivering social prescribing services: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK. Julia.pescheny@study.beds.ac.uk.
2
Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social Prescribing is a service in primary care that involves the referral of patients with non-clinical needs to local services and activities provided by the third sector (community, voluntary, and social enterprise sector). Social Prescribing aims to promote partnership working between the health and the social sector to address the wider determinants of health. To date, there is a weak evidence base for Social Prescribing services. The objective of the review was to identify factors that facilitate and hinder the implementation and delivery of SP services based in general practice involving a navigator.

METHODS:

We searched eleven databases, the grey literature, and the reference lists of relevant studies to identify the barriers and facilitators to the implementation and delivery of Social Prescribing services in June and July 2016. Searches were limited to literature written in English. No date restrictions were applied. Findings were synthesised narratively, employing thematic analysis. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool Version 2011 was used to evaluate the methodological quality of included studies.

RESULTS:

Eight studies were included in the review. The synthesis identified a range of factors that facilitate and hinder the implementation and delivery of SP services. Facilitators and barriers were related to: the implementation approach, legal agreements, leadership, management and organisation, staff turnover, staff engagement, relationships and communication between partners and stakeholders, characteristics of general practices, and the local infrastructure. The quality of most included studies was poor and the review identified a lack of published literature on factors that facilitate and hinder the implementation and delivery of Social Prescribing services.

CONCLUSION:

The review identified a range of factors that facilitate and hinder the implementation and delivery of Social Prescribing services. Findings of this review provide an insight for commissioners, managers, and providers to guide the implementation and delivery of future Social Prescribing services. More high quality research and transparent reporting of findings is needed in this field.

KEYWORDS:

Community care; Community referrals; Delivery; Implementation; Social prescription

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