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Background

In recent years, there has been increasing interest from high level national and regional policymakers in social prescribing as a means of improving public health and wellbeing. This has included growing recognition of its role in supporting individuals to find and/or retain work. This is significant given how important work – and in particular ‘good’ work – is for people’s self-esteem, personal fulfilment, and, in turn, their health and wellbeing. As such, work is increasingly being recognised as a ‘health outcome’ in and of itself.

This paper

This research has sought to investigate whether this changing policy emphasis has influenced social prescribing in practice, thus resulting in changes to social prescribing services’ work ‘offer’ and emphasis placed on work and related outcomes. We have explored the ‘value’ attached to work and the degree to which barriers to embedding work-related outcomes persist in current social prescribing services. Ultimately, we aimed to inform policymakers about the realities of social prescribing as a route to work and whether these ‘high level’ policy aspirations have come closer to being realised.