A major new report for health and care system leaders, commissioners and front-line professionals concludes that person- and community- centred approaches are pivotal to improving health and wellbeing outcomes during financially restrained times.

The Realising the Value programme has conducted a thorough analysis of the evidence for person-centred and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing, working with five frontline sites across England, and today publishes tools, recommendations and economic modelling to show how they can be successfully implemented.

The Realising the Value programme was commissioned by NHS England to support delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which recognises that new ways of working with people and communities are needed to address current challenges – such as more people living with long-term conditions, and an ageing population. The tools and recommendations show how to make a reality of the vision for a ‘new relationship with people and communities’ set out in the Five Year Forward View.

Led by Nesta and the Health Foundation, the 18-month programme provides evidence that person- and community-centred approaches – which entail focusing care around the priorities and motivations of individuals – can improve health and wellbeing, reduce demand on services, and create wider social value, such as supporting people to get back to work or education.

The Realising the Value programme took a whole system view to increase understanding of how person- and community centred approaches add value, and of what works to embed and spread them in practice. It explored in-depth five different methods – peer support; self-management education; health coaching; group activities to support health and wellbeing; and asset-based approaches – to assess their effectiveness, impact on patients, and wider benefits. Five voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations from around the country contributed their experience and insight. A key finding from the programme is that to move from intent to action, there needs to be a step change in ambition, leadership and commitment from across the system.

The programme provides ten major actions to put people and communities at the heart of health and wellbeing, along with a range of wider recommendations for system leaders and a set of practical resources. The actions include making best use of available tools, evidence, legislation and regulation to implement person- and community centred ways of working across the system. The programme also calls for action to support people to work differently by developing strong networks and enabling health and care professionals and the wider workforce to understand and work in person- and community-centred ways.

These will enable health and care system leaders, commissioners, practitioners and voluntary and community sector organisations to make changes that put people, families and communities at the centre of decision-making about their health and wellbeing.

The resources from the programme include:

  • A guide with practical tips on designing, embedding and spreading the five person- and community-centred approaches to maximise their impact;
  • An economic modelling tool for commissioners, which builds understanding of how person- and community-centred approaches can support health and wellbeing in local populations, estimates potential savings and wider social benefits, and helps to build the business case;
  • A report on system levers setting out the role of national bodies in supporting the implementation and spread of person- and community-centred approaches;
  • A new articulation of value that focuses on what matters to people and communities. This includes a series of calls to action including the need to build a consensus on developing a single simplified outcomes framework, focused on what matters to people.

To ensure full cross-sector expertise, the Realising the Value programme was delivered with a consortium of partners, comprising Voluntary Voices (made up of National Voices, Regional Voices, NAVCA and Volunteering Matters), the Behavioural Insights Team, the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, and PPL (a health consultancy).

Halima Khan, Executive Director, Health Lab, Nesta said: "We are all aware of the urgent need to design a sustainable health and care system. One of the major ways of achieving this will be through enabling people to live better with health conditions. This programme clearly sets out that the best way to do this is by putting people and communities at the heart of health and wellbeing – so that they feel in control, valued, motivated and supported. This is a powerful and effective way for both individuals and the system to get on the front foot.

“We have created practical tools to help make it happen, including an economic model that can be used directly by commissioners to support investment decisions. And we have developed ten major actions to shift the overall system. What is needed now is sustained and coordinated leadership at local and national levels to embed these innovations into mainstream change and realise the power of people and communities at the heart of health and wellbeing.”

Will Warburton, director of Improvement at the Health Foundation said: “Person- and community-centred approaches should be seen as integral to creating better health and care. Our work has found that these approaches, which draw deeply on the power of personal experience, peer relationships, and connection to community, are most likely to be achieved through local action. What is needed is a health and care workforce skilled and knowledgeable in these ways of working, as well as a flourishing voluntary and community sector, and better ways of measuring the outcomes that matter to people. This has the potential to really transform the relationships between the health service, people and communities.”

Dr. Alf Collins, clinical lead, person centred care, NHS England said: “Thanks to the work of the Realising the Value programme, we can now see a structured approach to supported self-care that is based on evidence and practical examples. Given this evidence, NHS England is committed to providing leadership for the NHS to engineer Realising the Value principles and practice into the way it works. Over the next three years, we will work with other arms-length bodies to provide support for local health and care systems to come together with the communities they serve and the voluntary sector. We will support them to create thriving social networks where people living with long term conditions feel confident to manage their own health and wellbeing and live independently. In short, putting in place Realising the Value will go a long way towards delivering the vision of Chapter 2 of the Five Year Forward View.”

To mark the culmination of the Realising the Value programme, two events will be held to share the final learnings and materials on person- and community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing: London (15 November) and Manchester (16 November). More here.

To access the final programme materials and find out more, visit http://www.realisingthevalue.org/

Notes to editors

About the programme: Realising the Value was an 18-month programme of work to build the evidence base about person-and community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing and working with local partner sites who are delivering these approaches on the ground. The Realising the Value programme was funded by NHS England and led by Nesta and the Health Foundation, working in partnership with Voluntary Voices (made up of National Voices, Regional Voices, NAVCA and Volunteering Matters), the Behavioural Insights Team, the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, and PPL.


Media contacts

www.health.org.uk @HealthFdn

About Nesta: Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833

www.nesta.org.uk / @nesta_uk

For more information about Nesta contact Kasia Murphy in Nesta’s press office on 020 7438 2610/ kasia.murphy@nesta.org.uk 



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