Watch: Realising Health on the High Street

Hear about the NHS Dorset journey, including how they are continuing to work with Legal & General to make health on the high street a reality.

General information

9 October 2023 14:30 - 16:00 GMT
Open to all

The NHS Confederation published Health on the High Street in December 2020, setting out a vision for how integrating health and care services into local high street and town centre spaces can broaden their engagement and generate economic, social and health benefits for local communities.

Since the publication of the report, we have seen emerging examples from across the country of highly innovative approaches to moving a variety of health and care services into high street premises; including department stores, empty units, shopping centres, retail outlets, residential areas and other leisure and cultural buildings. The response to these new models has been extremely positive; from citizens, patients, staff, businesses, local authorities and property owners. 

One of the most prominent examples of Health on the High Street originated in Dorset in 2021, where NHS Dorset wanted to develop a series of outpatient assessment centres (OACs), located in meaningful and convenient locations and creating a holistic approach to delivering care and reducing the strain on the system. With time short and no suitable assets, discussions started to identify appropriate sites, identifying Beales Department Store in Poole, owned by Legal & General, as the most viable option due to its central location, accessibility, transport links, ability to design facility around patient flow and infection control, and the valuable boost to the economy through increased local footfall. 

Since opening OACs in Poole and in Dorchester, over 10,000 patients have been seen for abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, breast screening, dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, and rheumatology appointments. As an example, the orthopaedics specialty has seen a 92% reduction in 78–104-week waiters and both a 31% uplift in activity and 25% increase in appointment utilisation. From an economic perspective, over half of all patients report planning to do something else when attending an appointment, such as shopping or dining in town. This ‘win win’ lies at the heart of future strategic estates and service delivery planning.

The NHS Confederation, Legal & General and Dorset ICS recently joined forces to support systems in England to:

  • Understand the policy, partnerships and principles behind Health on the High Street;
  • Determine emerging local ‘opportunity zones’ within ICS footprints that are owned by Legal & General and suitable for new Health on the High Street developments; and
  • Learn from leaders who have successfully developed local Health on the High Street.