Last month in his Comprehensive Spending Review, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a £10bn funding package for the NHS. We and the like-minded organisations we often work with believe that the NHS now needs to invest in innovations which have often been developed by social and community care organisations, but which also have huge potential as new approaches to healthcare. Often these models involve health professionals letting families and communities take the lead, with the professionals providing their expert input and back up when it’s needed. Here, my colleague Sue Eley (who leads on developing Shared Lives for older people, as breaks for family carers and as intermediate care), guest blogs about the report:
Today sees the launch of new publication from Inclusive Change, a partnership between In Control, Community Catalysts, Inclusive Neighbourhoods, Inclusion North and Shared Lives Plus, with support from user-led organisation CHANGE; NHS England; Think Local, Act Personal; and the Coalition for Collaborative Care. The report, Collaborative Healthcare looks at ways in which asset and strength based community services can have a positive effect on the well-being of the people involved, bringing significant health benefits to individuals and neighbourhoods.
Through a number of case studies, the report describes initiatives which have helped people to live ‘good lives in good places’ – the overall aim of Inclusive Change. By working at a local level, involving citizens and leaders, improvements have been achieved in many aspects of people’s lives, one of the most striking being people taking more control over their own health needs.
Some of the case studies have shown how, by feeling more connected and involved in their communities, people have lost weight, given up smoking and reduced both medication and their reliance on health services generally. This in turn has led to significant financial savings for local health services, particularly for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
Many of the case studies highlight what can be achieved with a little investment and the startling results some of these interventions have had on neighbourhoods that have previously been considered to be ‘problem areas’. By focussing on community led solutions and involving people at every level, this report shows how much can be achieved.
Here are five key messages from the report:
- Personal Budgets alone do not create new choices. There must be an equal focus on building new kinds of intervention, workforces, services and enterprises.
- Many of the people who could gain most from tailored support need the most support to make choices. Support to make real choices needs building into every interaction with services. Advocacy and brokerage are vital.
- People struggle to co-design creative solutions in a system which focuses primarily on need and money. Individuals, families, communities and professionals need to learn together how to recognise and build upon their collective assets, capabilities and potential.
- Choice and control at an individual level needs to be matched by shared responsibility for decision-making at the community and whole-area level. This is not achieved through traditional approaches to consultation or including a patient on a committee, but only through co-production: collaborative conversations right from the start.
- Services are vital, but they are often only one part of a much wider eco-system of support which includes the contributions of family carers and communities. Almost every intervention can be delivered in a way which results in individuals and their families being better informed, more connected to those around them and more resilient.
The report can be found at http://sharedlivesplus.org.uk/information-and-publications/item/251-inclusive-change-release-collaborative-healthcare-supporting-ccgs-and-hwbs-to-support-integrated-personal-care