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A critical analysis of the impact of social prescribing on patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations in Sunderland

   School of Nursing and Health Sciences

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  Prof Yitka Graham, Prof C Hayes, Dr Heather Yemm, Mr Jon Twelves  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


Social prescribing is defined as the community referral to a range of local, non-clinical services. As health and wellbeing are determined by the complex interrelationships between social, economic and environmental factors, often beyond any individual’s control, social prescribing seeks to tailor holistic needs, facilitating greater ownership of personal health and wellbeing. There are different models of social prescribing that meet the needs of individual communities and across the life course. This Health Services Research PhD will focus on the link worker model developed and run through the Sunderland GP Alliance.

The City of Sunderland has made a major investment in social prescribing, with partners supporting and delivering the link worker model of social prescribing. To date there is only a small emergent body of evidence to support social prescribing, but there are acknowledged limitations to existing studies. In March 2022, The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute (HMNCRI) opened the Sunderland Social Prescribing Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre with a specific remit to focus on developing evidence to support commissioning and delivery of social prescribing interventions across the City.

Using a mixed-methods approach, the aim of the study is to undertake a critical analysis of the impact of social prescribing on patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations in Sunderland to achieve the following objectives:

-  To construct a mapping framework of social prescribing in Sunderland to understand the relationships between organisations and service users

-  To understand the impact of link-worker social prescribing from the service user perspective on health and wellbeing

-  To understand the impact of social prescribing from healthcare professionals involved in both referring and delivering social prescribing interventions in the community

-  To provide a set of recommendations to inform future commissioning of social prescribing services

- To construct a conceptual model for capturing evidence of the impact of link worker-based social prescribing

Eligibility: Applicants must be educated to BSc/BA or MSc/MA level, have a demonstrable interest in health and wellbeing, possess understanding and/or experience of qualitative methodologies and have an understanding of NHS and social prescribing. We will consider applicants with degrees in non-health subjects owing to the multidisciplinary nature of the subject.

Application process: (please do not apply through any other method as your enquiry will not be answered)

1.     Interested applicants should email Dr Yitka Graham at [Email Address Removed] to request an Expression of Interest form in advance of the September 11 deadline. Please allow yourself sufficient time to complete the application process.

2. The completed Expression of Interest (EOI) form, along with a current CV, academic transcripts and covering letter to Professor Yitka Graham, Head of the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute at: [Email Address Removed] by the closing date of Sunday, September 11th, 17:00 GMT. Any applications received after this date/time or without all documentation will not be considered.

2.      The EOIs will be reviewed by the academic panel and shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview early September 2022.

3.     To be successful, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for PhD candidates set by the University of Sunderland.

For any informal enquiries, please email Professor Yitka Graham, Head of the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute at [Email Address Removed]. Please do not send your CV unless it is part of the EOI application process above.

This is a three-year, full-time, on campus doctoral programme only, terms are not negotiable. The successful candidate will be expected to live in the North East for the duration of the studentship. A stipend will be paid in line with current UKRI rates

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