Latrobe Health Assembly

Social Prescribing


Project Objectives

The Latrobe Health Assembly is investigating development of a social prescribing model, designed to meet the needs of Latrobe City residents.

People present to a GP’s clinic for a number of different reasons, not all of which are clinical. Many individuals present to their GP’s with health issues that are essentially a social or welfare problem. In these cases, a GP may only have a limited and short term impact with traditional clinical means. Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral,
is a way that enables clinical professionals such as GPs, nurses, nurse practitioners and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.

Sometimes referred to as community referral, green prescribing or nonmedical prescribing, social prescribing links patients with non-medical supports in the community. GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals can refer people, whose health or mental health is affected by non-medical factors such as housing, financial stress, health literacy,
loneliness or social exclusion, to a range of community services that can support these issues. Social prescribing is a way to address social determinants and support individuals to take greater control of their own health.

The “prescriptions” or activities can be provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice, luncheon clubs, walking and reading groups, literacy classes, support with housing, employment, debt and legal advice, cooking classes, exercise programs, and many more.

Consulting firm Larter have been commissioned as a part of Stage 1 for this project to undertake co-design to develop a fit-for-purpose model of social prescribing for Latrobe Valley, including:

  • feasibility study to determine the potential success of social prescribing locally and the best model to suit our community
  • a range of recommendations that will lead to the successful implementation of a social prescribing model for Latrobe City, that will be co-designed with service providers and the community and developed as stage two of this project

Larter has completed 130 conversations with community members who are likely to benefit from ‘social prescriptions’.

The consultations have sought to hear from people who are isolated and/or more vulnerable and/or living with multiple complex disadvantages, in order to understand:

  1. what type of ‘prescriptions’ or community activities are most valued; and
  2. what might be the barriers to participation in such a program.

The project has heard from people on the street, in libraries, in community centres, at food relief centres, involved in the criminal justice system, opportunity shops, general practice and community health waiting rooms, District Nursing, work for the dole programs, Learn
Locals, shopping centre food courts and multicultural groups among others.

Larter Consulting will provide the Latrobe Health Assembly with their Stage 1 report in January/February 2020.

Status Update