PhD: Public and patient preferences for social prescribing

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Social prescribing is a means to enable healthcare professionals to refer patients to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Patients are referred to a link worker and together they co-design a non-clinical ‘social prescription’ to improve the patient’s health and wellbeing. Social prescribing is new and varied, and its value for money to the NHS and acceptability to patients and the public is unknown:

Social prescribing is only worthwhile if patients value the outcomes it provides. Patients’ preferences for social prescribing may depend on the health condition it is prescribed for. Knowledge about the variation in patient preferences can identify those who most value social prescribing. Furthermore, the public acceptability and willingness to pay for social prescribing is unknown. Variation in the willingness to pay across health conditions would undermine the ideal of equal care for equal need and have implications for the use of public preferences for decision making. To address these issues, the thesis will be split into three questions and discrete choice experiment methods will be used to answer these:
1. Do patients’ preferences for social prescribing differ across mental and physical health conditions?
2. Do public preferences for social prescribing differ across health conditions?
3. Do public and patient preferences for social prescribing differ?

PhD student: Mélanie Antunes

Supervisors: Marjon van der Pol, Verity Watson (HERU); R. Norman and S. Robinson (Curtin University).


Antunes, M. (2020) 'Public and patients preferences for social prescribing', Post-Graduate Research Summer Conference, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen [Online], 18 June 2020.