In Autumn 2023, NHS England ran a survey for Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLWs). The survey was open to all
SPLWs, including those employed outside the NHS. The focus of the survey was to understand the experiences and
perceptions of SPLWs working across all sectors including primary care and the VCSE sector, to inform workforce

Key highlights:

  • There were 777 responses to the survey
  • Since the last survey, there has been an increase in the proportion of SPLWs currently on a permanent contract, rising from 69% to 75%
  • The majority of SPLWs who responded to the survey entered their role from an NHS background, with a significant number of staff having experience in the VCSE sector
  • Roughly half of SPLWs were employed by a primary care network (PCN), and approximately 30% were employed by the VCSE sector. The third sector, secondary care and local authorities also acted as hosts
  • Compared to last year’s survey, the proportion of SPLWs employed by the VCSE sector reduced from 37% in 2022 to 30% in 2023
  • 42% of SPLWs indicated that they record social prescribing outcomes frequently, with 28% of respondents indicating that they never record outcomes. ONS4 was by far the most commonly used tool for recording social prescribing outcomes and case studies were also overwhelmingly utilised to determine impact
  • 55% of SPLWs indicated awareness of the recently published Social Prescribing Information Standard. Furthermore, 59% of respondents were familiar with SNOMED codes, and 52% felt confident in using local clinical systems to add SNOMED codes to patient records
  • SPLWs would welcome greater understanding and increased value of the SPLW role by clinicians and wider healthcare staff, clarity about career progression pathways and development opportunities, as well as additional staff to help manage the demand of the role and greater access to IT systems with associated training.

For more information, please view the report here: Social prescribing link worker survey report.