Category Archives: Community

What can healthcare commissioners do to get everyone involved with health and care in their own communities?

The need for community-based approaches to give people a real and effective voice in their own health and wellbeing needs has been validated and given greater weight by the NHS Five Year Forward View and its recommendations under Next Steps to utilise those assets as a catalyst for change.

Realising the Value has drilled down to provide the evidence of the validity of these approaches and is a call to action to make it happen.

All well and good, but it’s our contention as authors of Commissioning for Community Development for Health that there are many decision-makers in the health system who want to strengthen community action, but have no model for how to start going about it.

We wanted to produce a research-based publication that addresses this need and provides a framework for action, starting in priority neighbourhoods.

It offers a systematic approach to increasing resident involvement in health-giving activity, mutual aid and community effectiveness across a CCG area, and provides the tools to get it going.

It offers:

  • a down-to-earth explanation of what community development is and does
  • where it fits in to current health policy
  • the kinds of health benefit that these methods can generate
  • a rationale for partnership with other local services to boost community activity
  • mobilising participation through all community groups and networks
  • addressing both health and care and the social determinants of health
  • making services more responsive to communities
  • designing a two to five year community strengthening strategy
  • phasing the work across the CCG, starting with priority neighbourhoods
  • what skills should be sought in recruiting project leader and staff
  • model contract for provision of the community development project
  • model baselines, milestones and key performance indicators
  • reconciling planned outcomes and objective evaluation with scope for flexible fieldwork method.

The Handbook closely reflects C4CC’s own 3Cs. So we are proud to help spread the message to a wider network.

It has also been endorsed by the Royal College of GPs and Think Local Act Personal (TLAP). support we obviously welcome.

But our work does not end with its publication and we are offering introductory seminars and practical workshops to commissioners and others keen to learn more.

As well as explaining the key concepts and instruments and looking at case studies, these can be tailored to particular audiences, priority local issues and participants’ needs.

Contact gabriel.chanan@talktalk.net or brianfisher36@btinternet.com for more details.

 

Engaging and Empowering Communities

I was delighted to speak at the November 2016 launch of Engaging and Empowering Communities: A Shared Commitment and Call to Action – an initiative headed up by Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) but co-authored by the Coalition for Collaborative Care, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Local Government Association, Public Health England, the Association of Directors of Public Health, the Department of Health and NHS England.

The document is a sector-wide commitment to developing and nurturing strong communities, something very close to our hearts in C4CC.  We know that things need to change- councils, clinical commissioning groups and doctors can’t ‘prescribe’ wellbeing- it comes from having friends, family, social contact and support, being able to get out and about, having the opportunity to do something for others and feeling valued for our contributions through paid and unpaid work or being part of a group.

With our partners, the Coalition for Collaborative Care wants to see a shift away from ‘What’s the matter with you?’ to ‘What matters to you?’ by local people and organisations coming together to nurture and build on the assets in local communities, reducing loneliness and social isolation, increasing community resilience and enabling people to take control of managing their  health.

This is something very personal to me as chair of my local Timebank in Reading, covering a diverse and thriving community in the Oxford Road area of the town. I have seen powerful examples of how the Timebanking model keeps previously isolated people, often people with multiple medical conditions, connected to others in their community in a positive way.  From what we know about the work carried out by C4CC partners Timebanking UK and Spice we know that people are likely to be less reliant on health services and more expensive interventions as a result of their involvement in community activity.  See the London School of Economics report that I was involved in, and Spice’s recent impact assessment here.

Whether through Timebanking or other innovative approaches, we need to drive forward on this agenda, particularly at a time when resources are stretched in the public sector.  It’s therefore fantastic that national sector leaders have been prepared to sign up for a paradigm shift in how we support citizens, families, people, to live happy and healthy lives.

Another key landmark, was this week’s publication of the conclusions of the Realising the Value (RTV) programme, undertaken by Nesta and the Health Foundation and funded by NHS England.

This builds the evidence base for person and community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing and how they can be developed across the country.

To quote from its key findings:  “The most successful examples of person – and community-centred approaches in practice are those that are developed by people and communities, working with and alongside commissioners and policymakers to build on existing assets and co-produce solutions that work.”

I hope that health professionals, providers, commissioners and those in charge of implementing local Sustainability and Transformation Plans will read the report and take on board its 10 key actions, and work with local authorities, the voluntary sector and local people to make the fine aims in our shared commitment happen in reality.