2022 RSA Albert Medal awarded to healthcare pioneers Andrew Mawson and Sam Everington

Press release

Today, (Saturday 14 May) Andrew Mawson and Sam Everington have been announced as the winners of the 2022 Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Albert Medal. 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 will be made on Saturday 14 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.”

Notes to editors

  • The Albert Medal first awarded in 1864 as a memorial to Prince Albert who had been President of the RSA for 18 years. Previous recipients range from scientists to artists to to leaders to social campaigners: they include Winston Churchill in 1945 for leading the allies to victory; Marie Curie in 1910 for the discovery of radium; Alexander Graham Bell in 1902 for the invention of the telephone; Stephen Hawking in 1999 for improving public awareness of physics; and Tim Berners-Lee in 2002 for the creation of the World Wide Web. Last year’s winner was Professor Sarah Gilbert, who was awarded the medal for her role as the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCov-19, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. Read more here.
  • Dr Sir Sam Everington is a GP and pioneer of an integrated approach to health and health care and the importance of education, the environment, arts and employment in health.
  • Lord Andrew Mawson OBE is a social entrepreneur, who founded the Bromley by Bow Centre, the UK’s first integrated health institution, run by, for and with the local community.

About the RSA

  • The RSA (royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce) is an independent charity, committed to a future that works for everyone. A future where we can all participate in its creation.
  • The RSA has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years. Our proven change process, rigorous research, innovative ideas platform and diverse global community of over 30,000 problem solvers, deliver solutions for lasting change.
  • Legally, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (‘RSA’) is a Royal Charter Company and registered charity in England and Wales (charity number 212424) and in Scotland (charity number SC037784).

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