The contribution of WNE Chairman Lord Andrew Mawson OBE to improving the way local healthcare services support patients has been recognised with a major national award.
Andrew and his colleague Professor Sir Sam Everington have been named as the winners of the 2022 Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Albert Medal.
Sam and Andrew first pioneered ‘social prescribing’ at the Bromley by Bow Centre in East London more than three decades ago by offering services that go beyond what people typically receive at GP surgeries. Their approach recognises how patients often have more than one need and makes it easier for them to access different levels of practical and emotional support which is available near to where they live. This innovative approach is now being widely used in the NHS.
“It’s a huge honour to receive this award, and a tremendous boost to our efforts to put social prescribing at the heart of building healthier communities and families nationwide,” said Andrew Mawson.
“My experience over 35 years is that bringing together the public sector, business partners and social entrepreneurs is the only way to generate sustainable change across communities. This includes addressing the underlying causes of ill-health – poverty, unemployment, poor housing, addiction or debt – all the things that a visit to the GP or A&E won’t fix.
“We have a once in a generation opportunity, after the pandemic, for a complete rethink on how we approach health and wellbeing. I’ve been speaking in the House of Lords to highlight this during debates on the new Health & Social Care Bill, challenging the traditional ‘top down’, centralised approach to healthcare.”
Added Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of the RSA: “Our society is facing growing healthcare pressures, with mental health, loneliness, obesity and the complex challenges of an ageing population increasing demand on the NHS. From its origins in East London, and thanks to the continuing efforts of its early pioneers, Sam Everington and Andrew Mawson, social prescribing is now making a difference to patients in the UK as well as spreading globally to Finland, South Korea and Australia and elsewhere. Sam and Andrew’s innovative and inspiring work speaks to the very best of the Albert Medal’s traditions. They are worthy winners.”
The Albert Medal is awarded once a year to recognise individuals and organisations who have made a significant impact on solving the world’s biggest social challenges. It was first awarded in 1864 as a memorial to Prince Albert who had been President of the RSA for 18 years.
Last year’s winner was Professor Sarah Gilbert, who was awarded the medal for her role as the Oxford Project Leader for a vaccine against coronavirus. Other winners since 1864 have included Michael Faraday, Marie Curie, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Professor Stephen Hawking, Baroness Mary Warnock and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The Albert Medal will be presented to Andrew and Sam at a celebration event in September.