Previous medal winners include Marie Curie, Franklin D. Roosevelt & Professor Stephen Hawkins.
As per the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce’s (RSA) press release:
They have been awarded the medal in recognition of their innovative work to improve the way local healthcare services support patients.
Mawson and Everington 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.
NHS England has begun to embrace social prescribing because of its potential to reduce the burden on primary and secondary care services, whilst still giving patients what they need to improve their health and wellbeing.
The Albert Medal is awarded once a year to recognize 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.
This year’s award announcement was made on Saturday 14th May at the RSA’s inaugural Fellows Festival in London. The winners will accept their award at an in-person event in the autumn.
Andy Haldane, the RSA’s new Chief Executive, said:
“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, Everington and 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.”
Lord Andrew Mawson said:
“Social Prescribing was pioneered over a number of years. As is always the case, translating a local response into an international movement without losing the essence of what the approach embodies is a challenge, and we would say this is very much a work in process, rather than a done deal. I hope to use this Award to continue to promote the approach, but also to continue to challenge and ask awkward questions in an endeavour to ensure that as social prescribing becomes mainstream it remains genuinely transformative of local communities and families.”
Find out more about the RSA here.
Read about the history of the Albert Medal and it’s previous winners here.