Social prescribing set to benefit West Lancashire residents

Social prescribing set to benefit West Lancashire residents

The local NHS is looking to pilot a social prescribing service, in their drive towards prevention and reducing health inequalities.

Social prescribing is becoming recognised as a fundamental route of support for today’s communities. The term ‘social prescribing’ simply means linking people up to social or physical activities in their community that will benefit them. These activities are typically provided by voluntary and community-sector organisations and commissioned statutory wellbeing services. Examples may include debt and housing advice, volunteering, ecotherapy, arts activities, cooking and healthy eating advice. The idea is that these activities and connections will help alleviate issues faced by an individual by for example developing new skills, reducing feelings of loneliness, forging relationships and acquaintances and increasing mobility and self-confidence.

As highlighted in the GP Forward View, GPs remain a popular go to place for people looking for support. The issues patients present with are not always appropriate for a medical prescription.   GPs and surrounding communities need to be equipped with social prescribing models to create a shift away from medical responses to more holistic approach that increases wellbeing, not just treating illness. West Lancashire CCG is working towards a holistic model of social prescribing, one that has a social prescriber working with referred individuals to access local sources of support.

Likewise, CCGs are being urged in a national context (NHS Five Year Forward View) to focus on prevention.   A focus on true health and wellbeing requires a focus on the wider determinants of health. These wider determinants can include many factors for example family relationships, education, working conditions and adequate housing. To do this, the CCG intends to look beyond health services and settings.

The social prescribing service will begin initially in Skelmersdale, due to the severity of health inequalities relating to this specific area of West Lancashire. The Seven Wards Report highlights the detail of this but as an example of the stark differences, for males in West Lancashire, life expectancy at birth ranged from 83 years in Derby to 73.6 in Tanhouse, a difference of 9.4 years. For females, life expectancy at birth ranged from 87.6 in Tarleton to 76.1 in Birch Green, a difference of 11.5 years.

Join our social prescribing conversation:

The CCG is looking to develop this idea alongside partners and would like to hear from anyone interested in helping co-design this pilot through a Request for Information (RFI) process and subsequent tender process.

More information is available via Contracts Finder

The purpose of the RFI process to trial this service is to:

  • To stimulate interest in the opportunity from potential Suppliers
  • To ascertain if the draft Service Specification is fit for purpose.
  • To understand the potential duration for the pilot
  • To understand opportunities for innovation in delivery of the Service.

Potential Suppliers are invited to express interest in the opportunity, provide feedback on the attached draft documentation in writing or face to face by meeting with the Commissioning and Procurement team for this project.

Please review the attached documentation and contact the named representative detailed in section 4 (Contact) of this notice if you wish to engage in the RFI process, face to face meetings or express interest in the opportunity.

Individual meetings with suppliers will take place on 24th July 2017 at West Lancashire CCG, Hilldale, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2JW, provision for chargeable parking is available within the campus

The contract value is £70,000. The closing date is 28 July 2017. The contract start date is 29 September 2017.

The procurement is being run by NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (CSU)

Find out more

Social prescribing is part of the Reframing Health theme of the Well Skelmersdale movement, which the CCG supports. We’ll be issuing more stories on this very soon.

If you are a local resident and have any views on social prescribing, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us via

For more about health inequalities, please read the Seven Wards Report about Skelmersdale: