Here's looking at you: working with a different NHS: reflections from the voluntary and community sector

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service; Community Action on Health
Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service
Date of publication
1 April 2012
Health Services, Legislation
Social welfare
Material type

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This report examines voluntary and community sector experience to date and future expectations of working with the statutory health sector as the 2012 Health and Social Care Bill takes effect. The specific aims of this research are to: provide intelligence about commissioning groups’ priorities and behaviour that voluntary and community organisations throughout Newcastle can use to develop productive relationships with statutory health professionals across the city; and help raise awareness among clinicians of the effective interventions that the voluntary and community sector can offer. The study found that although voluntary organisations have a great deal to offer statutory health professionals and their patients, and in many cases offer non-medical services with the potential to substantially improve patients’ health and wellbeing, many organisations have struggled to break through the cultural and procedural barriers that make it hard to develop equitable commissioning relationships with the statutory sector. There was general agreement among focus group participants that most GPs simply do not know how the sector is funded and have not thought about what voluntary and community sectors might need to ensure their continued ability to deliver valued services. The report makes a series of recommendations for developing better pathways between the voluntary and statutory health care sectors. These recommendations include that voluntary and community sector organisations should develop clear figures showing how much each intervention costs them to deliver and what they need to charge, and that clinical commissioning groups could consider the value of grant aid to replace some Primary Care Trust funding, particularly for smaller amounts of money and for some small and medium-sized organisations.