A new national programme has been launched to work closely with a series of pilot sites, using population health approaches and multidisciplinary partnerships, to identify and tackle local health inequality challenges.
The NHS Long Term Plan established clear objectives for health systems to deliver improvements in health inequalities that have been a persistent feature of the social landscape of England. More recently, COVID-19 has also put a spotlight on how social, economic and environmental conditions are inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of our population.
The ‘Complete Care Communities’ programme is being piloted by a partnership between NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit and Healthworks, with clinical leadership provided by Professor James Kingsland OBE. The programme will centre on working with Primary Care Networks to identify the key health inequality challenges faced by local populations, in particular those associated with the wider determinants of health, that require collaborative working with local councils and other agencies. Challenges already identified include knife crime, prison populations, and child and adolescent mental health.
By working closely with 15 demonstrator sites, Complete Care Communities will put existing evidence into practice, test new ideas and approaches, and share learning across the health, care and local services community. Each demonstrator site will then feed into a national evaluation so that learning and best practice can be shared and propagated.
Seven demonstrator sites have already been identified across the North West and London regions, with NHS England and NHS Improvement regional funding secured towards the pilots. The programme is keen to hear from other sites – at a system, place or neighbourhood level – who would be interested in participating in the pilot via firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Kingsland, Director at Healthworks and clinical lead for the project said: “The development of Primary Care Networks provides an opportunity to enable a more systematic approach to addressing the underlying health inequalities that exist within communities and how they can be managed. We are delighted to be involved in this groundbreaking collaboration and hope to play a significant role in reducing inequality and improving services and health outcomes for patients.”
Martin Charters, Integrated Care System Development Lead at Arden & GEM said : “We are adopting a place-based approach to take urgent action to increase the scale and pace of progress in reducing health inequalities. By targeting entire communities, we aim to identify and address fragmented and inefficient service provision and proactively engage those at greatest risk of poor health outcomes.”