IT’S BECOMING CLEAR THAT OUR MOST PRESSING HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE CHALLENGES ARE TOO COMPLEX FOR ANY SINGLE INSTITUTION TO SOLVE. TO MAKE PROGRESS, DELIVER ON THE NHS LONG TERM PLAN AND ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF AN INTEGRATED CARE SYSTEM, IT IS NECESSARY FOR SECTORS TO COLLABORATE AND WORK TOGETHER.
Constraints on NHS funding over the past seven years, combined with rising demand from a growing and ageing population, have put the NHS under enormous pressure. It has been clear for some time that simply working the existing hospital-based model of care harder to meet rising demand is not the answer. Instead, the NHS needs to work differently by providing more care in people’s homes and the community and breaking down barriers between services.
Recognising the need for co-operative efforts, Director of Policy and Strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin pointed out: “The NHS can’t do this alone. It’s all about collaboration with a wide range of local partners – social care, primary care, housing and, critically, the voluntary and community sector.”
DUTY TO COLLABORATE AND CO-PRODUCE
Partnerships with other sectors must exist in order for the NHS Long Term plan to achieve its objectives, we see this as a necessity for the success of many of our customers’ integrated care and social prescribing programmes e.g. health must connect with housing and VCSE, otherwise we reduce resources and most importantly, we reduce patient choice.
When organisations work together under the right conditions, they can achieve much more – for example, reducing homelessness, cutting A&E admission rates and decreasing waiting lists.
Within social prescribing, there is a ‘duty to collaborate’. Often, successful social prescribing programmes have involvement from multiple policy stakeholders, including CCGs, councils, as well as GPs, housing officers, service users and VCSE organisations.
SUPPORTING INTEGRATED CARE OBJECTIVES
In order to address core challenges in communities, there is a need for commitment and effective collaboration from these stakeholders from understanding problems and barriers, to developing ideas and implementing and adopting new approaches.
We’ve experienced first hand the benefits of cross-sectoral partnerships by working with our customers to map what’s happening on the ground, recognise what gaps exist and helping to identify and connect with suitable partners.
Integrated care happens when NHS organisations work together to meet the needs of their communities. Some forms of integrated care involve local authorities and the VCSE sector in working towards objectives alongside NHS organisations. The most ambitious forms of integrated care aim to improve population health by tackling the causes of illness and the wider determinants of health through social prescribing.
SUCCESSFUL CROSS-SECTORAL PARTNERSHIPS
Since launching a digital social prescribing partnership with us last year, East Hampshire based housing provider Radian, now regularly receives instant social prescription referrals from GP practices, community nurses and primary care professionals.
By working in partnership to take a preventative approach to the health and wellbeing of their residents and supporting them to stay healthy through social prescribing services, Radian closes the gap between health and housing, whilst also reducing long-term costs for the NHS.
In Ealing, we’ve been working with a number of key partners since October 2018, to empower people to explore, assess and connect with physical activities that are available locally. These partners include Canal and River Trust, Ealing Council including the Leisure and Public Health teams, London Sport, Waterside Medical centre and its Patient Participation Group, Sharks Canoe Club, Ealing CCG, Catalyst Housing Association and a range of other community providers.
Also in Tandridge, The Wellbeing Prescription is delivered in partnership by Tandridge District Council and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and is commissioned by NHS East Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group and Surrey County Council Adult Social Care.
Working in partnership, the service works closely with all of the GP practices in the area, local voluntary and community organisations and Surrey Public Health. By connecting up all the different stakeholders and assets in the community a more encompassing service can be provided to the people of Tandridge and Reigate & Banstead areas.
Aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of people and communities in Salford, Salford CVS is successfully working with Elemental to support the delivery of the social prescribing model which will link statutory health and care provision to VCSE groups and activities.
JOINING UP THE DOTS
Although the gains from cross-sector collaboration are easy to imagine, it can often be challenging for us to know where to start.
We know that collaboration takes time; strong relationships, a shared vision and effective leadership are all crucial. To find out more about how Elemental can help you join up the dots for effective partnership working, drop us a line or give us a call.