Involving the voluntary and community sector in the health and care system

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Research published on 13 April 2016 says that charities have a “legitimate role” to play in the transformation of the health and care system in the UK. NPS was commissioned on behalf of the Richmond Group of charities to conduct the study as the evidence of the effectiveness of charities in improving outcomes was fragmented and poorly understood. The research was in response to NHS England's five-year forward view (5YFV), however, the insight into the valuable contribution of charities and the scope for increased future involvement of the voluntary and community sector will equally apply to charities and the NHS in Wales.

The research findings show that:

  • Charities can deliver strong health and wellbeing outcomes for patients through direct treatment and support and supported self-management.
  • Charities can make a contribution to the way services and systems are designed.
  • Charities not only help individuals through one-to-one relationships but they can help systems to function more effectively by innovating with new models and approaches and integrating across institutions, sectors and pathways.
  • The voluntary and community sector live up to the promise of operating across institutional boundaries – helping people to stay out of hospital to caring for people at the end of their lives.

The corollary of this is that with the NHS under pressure and in urgent need of support, better collaboration with health charities could improve care, reduce hospital admissions and bring down costs.

The full report is key reading for those working in the health and care system and can be accessed here.