Transformation in health and social care….. in a nutshell.
By Donna Turnbull, Community Development Manager at VAC.
This is a quick attempt to summarise the policy context for Social Prescribing……unsurprisingly it involves a tsunami of titles and initials. But within all that is the expectation Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) collaboration to enable themes like social prescribing. There is also recognition that the sector needs supporting and resourcing to meet these new pressures. I’m skimming the surface, but have added references for some of the more useful detailed information. So here goes……
The NHS intends to cover England with ‘Integrated Care Systems’ by 2021. That means health care based on collaboration and collective efforts, including with the VCS and individual citizens.
There is emphasis on prevention and self-care, delivered by initiatives like social prescribing and ‘Digitally Enabled Care’. The latter includes wearable stuff like Fitbits, apps that help health management, tech for showing impact, online access to services……and no doubt other things still to be invented. As with Social Prescribing and self-care the VCS are identified as collaborators in Digitally Enabled Care.
Page 25 of the plan describes self-care and social prescribing, page 29 explains Integrated Care Systems and Chapter 5 is all about Digitally Enabled Care.
Integrated Care Systems are being delivered by Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). Camden is covered by the North Central London STP which also includes Islington, Brent, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.
Locally the Integrated Care Systems will develop within Primary Care Networks (PCNs). These are groups of neighbouring GP practices covering populations of 30-50,000. These are emerging in Camden and are scheduled to start from July 1st this year.
PCNs will provide the environment for collaboration between primary care and community providers as well as other out-of-hospital services. They are likely to vary depending on the nature of the GP practices involved (GP practices are all private businesses) and the needs of the population they serve. Social Prescribing will be a feature of all PCNs…….more on this as they develop in Camden.
Importantly the emphasis on the Primary Care Networks means that investment in primary and community services will increase at a faster rate than the rest of the NHS budget over the coming years.
Aligning nicely with all this are developments in adult social care. In Camden that means the continuing roll out of ‘strengths based practice’ as described in Supporting People, Connecting Communities. Camden 2025. This approach sees people as assets and part of wellbeing solutions.
A framework for this is the ‘3 Conversations’ model explained on page 14. In short it involves replacing unnecessary bureaucracy, with talking things through. A shift back to a more people centred approach to social work. This fits well with social prescribing. Social workers are already making referrals and signposting in to VCS activities and services as part of their casework.
Regionally the Mayor’s London Health Strategy reflects the aims of the NHS plan. It’s a broad vision focussing on 5 aims: Healthy Children; Healthy Minds; Healthy Places; Healthy Communities; Healthy Living. These 5 sections contain some useful infographics and data. Most recently we have the Social Prescribing Vision for London, which is still in draft form but reveals some current thinking about the VCS role. More on this when it’s finalised – what gets left out might be even more revealing.
The above strategies and plans are the broad framework for the VCS and Social Prescribing. The next stages are to influence the details. The Social Prescribing Learning Network will start to facilitate this over the coming months including:
July 11th event where presenters will be briefed using some of the expectations of North London STP social prescribing task group. This will inform some of wider discussion at the event and enable feedback to the STP.
A SEPTEMBER joint event with Healthy London Partnership on influencing ‘micro-commissioning’ and other potential resourcing for VCS providers.