Social prescribing

Prescribing community: exploring a feasible and sustainable model of “social prescribing” for Latrobe Valley

Social prescribing is sometimes called community referral, community prescriptions, life prescriptions or green prescribing. It is when a health care professional (such as doctor or nurse or other) links a patient to a community group or service to help them with some of the challenges of day to day life. This might include things like not eating well, finding it hard to exercise, wanting to quit a habit that is making you feel bad, struggling with child care or parenting, housing or legal issues, feeling lonely or wanting to connect to people with similar interests.

Benefits of social prescribing can include:

  • Addressing low levels of well-being and/or psychological distress for people living with entrenched disadvantage by taking a more holistic view to address social determinants
  • Reducing reliance and pressure on health care services (low social group connectedness is associated with greater use of GP services)
  • Making better use of community support structures and voluntary organisations by combining GPs/other health providers with social services and social linkages
  • Reducing the health impacts of isolation which is an emerging determinant of health and community wellbeing (recent studies suggest one in four Australian people live with loneliness)

Local interest in social prescribing is emerging directly from recent feedback from the community to the Latrobe Health Advocate about key local priorities including social inclusion, mental health and wellbeing, access to services, the importance of exercise, healthy eating, and healthy lifestyles.

What’s happening in Latrobe Valley?

The Latrobe Health Assembly is currently exploring a model of “social prescribing” and how it might work in the Valley to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Some of the variables to be explored in developing a feasible, effective and sustainable local model include:

  • Who are the target community cohorts in Latrobe Valley?
  • What are the appropriate referral pathways?
  • What would an appropriate linkage/connector model look like?
  • What are the local prescriptions available?
  • Should the focus for Latrobe Valley be on ‘social’ prescriptions (to encourage connectedness) or ‘green’ prescriptions (diet and movement)?

The diagram below provides examples of different models and the kinds of possibilities which need to be explored (including the name, ‘social prescribing’).

V2 draft


Larter Consulting are undertaking consultation and co-design with community members, the community and services sector, and general practice to learn more about how this approach might work for our community – how it is already being done and how it could be better supported.

We welcome your thoughts and insights.

Tell me more

For enquiries: Jo Grzelinska, Principal Consultant M 0418 595 781 E


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