Key points

Anchor institutions are large, public sector organisations that are unlikely to relocate and have a significant stake in a geographical area. The size, scale and reach of the NHS means it influences the health and wellbeing of communities simply by being there.

Our report identifies five ways in which NHS organisations act as anchor institutions:

The conclusion sets out actions and opportunities for the NHS to harness its considerable influence to have an even greater impact on the health and wellbeing of communities.

Download the report now

This report showcases where NHS organisations are already implementing anchor practices, and outlines how decision makers across the health care system can maximise the contribution the NHS makes to the social, economic and environmental conditions that shape good health. Our report also draws on findings from research carried out by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and The Democracy Collaborative, looking at existing practice at three NHS trusts.

The Health Foundation will be working with NHS England and Improvement to build on this work to help achieve the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, to further build system understanding of anchor practices and how the NHS creates social value in local communities.

Find out more

To hear more about our work focused on improving health, go to our preference centre, where you can sign up to receive updates via email on topics such as the social determinants of health, inequalities, and integrated care.

If you’d like us to keep in touch with us specifically about our work on the role of the NHS as an anchor institution, sign up below.

Cite this publication

Reed S, Göpfert A, Wood S, Allwood D, Warburton W, 'Building healthier communities: the role of the NHS as an anchor institution'. Health Foundation; 2019.

Watch the recording of our webinar

Event

Webinar: The NHS as an anchor

Event

This webinar expands upon the findings of our recent report 'Building healthier communities: the...

Further reading

Long read

Anchors in a storm

About 20 mins to read

Long read

COVID-19 has galvanised many institutions, including the NHS, into more purposefully influencing...

Infographic

The NHS as an anchor institution

Infographic

How can NHS organisations act as anchor institutions in their local communities and positively...

You might also like...

Blog

Tackling health inequalities: how the government can do things differently to build back better

Blog

Is now a golden opportunity to truly improve cross-government working? Gwen Nightingale and...

Blog

Green shoots: creating the conditions for health care innovation to flourish

Blog

How will the four new Adopting Innovation hubs cultivate the optimal environment for change to be...

Press release

Universal Credit cut will hit areas with the worst health hardest

Press release

Health Foundation response to the end of the £20 universal credit uplift.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

How can the government do things differently to #BuildBackBetter? @KMerrifieldTHF and @GNightingaleTHF take a look… https://t.co/IlXkbxJ5U1

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more