Working differently with communities can have significant impacts on people’s health and wellbeing.
The need for better community and neighbourhood working
- Clinical treatment and access represent only 25 per cent of a population's health showing the need to focus on the wider determinants of health.
- £7 out of every £10 of health and care spending in England is spent on long term conditions showing the need for preventative care and support for people to build resilience.
- Loneliness increases someone’s likelihood of mortality by 26 per cent, equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
- The Marmot Review and Marmot Review 10 Years On have shown the impact of health inequality with the more deprived an area the shorter someone’s life expectancy and worse their outcomes are likely to be.
- The 2018 Care Quality Commission Local System Reviews noted that the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector is underutilised in the planning and delivery of care and are often not included as full partners (Beyond barriers: how older people move between health and care in England).
- As the focus of COVID-19 moves from response to recovery there is a huge opportunity to work closely with community groups to understand needs, capture insights and make connections to local communities that are fundamental to recovery and future resilience (COVID-19 recovery and resilience: what can health and care learn from other disasters?)
The impact of working differently with communities
Working differently with communities can have significant impacts on people’s health and wellbeing. Feedback while developing this guide included:
- Supporting people to remain independent for longer in their own homes
- Increasing the available capacity of services and support
- Making it easier for people to find support and participate in their communities
- Helping people to manage their own conditions for example, through peer support, using digital solutions or assistive technology
- Preventing escalation of need by helping people who need some support to stay independent but do not meet statutory eligibility requirements
- Bringing a wider range of partners more fully into health and care integration including housing, primary care and the VCSE sector
Where this has worked well
Some examples to show the tangible benefits of working differently with communities
- Somerset Council and community catalysts
Over four years this work supported the development of 425 community enterprises (362 brand new). Micro-enterprises delivered 12,000 hours of care a week to 1,500 people.
- Birmingham Council
Achieved a 36 per cent reduction in need for long-term services after adopting strengths-based ways of working.
- Evaluations of social prescribing
Shows improved mental and physical health and reduced demand on GPs, A&E and secondary care.
- Evaluation of Shared Lives Plus
Found annual savings of £26,000 per person for people with learning disabilities and £8,000 for people with mental ill health.