Public Health England look at how community-centred practice could reach vulnerable groups

policy digest

04 / 12 / 2018

Community-centred practice: applying All our Health
Public Health England, November 2018

In this report, Public Health England examines what NHS organisations and staff at all levels can do to establish and promote community-centred practice in their local areas. It suggests adopting a ‘family of community-centres approaches’ as key to ensuring transparent and inclusive practice:

  • Strengthening communities
  • Creating volunteer and peer roles
  • Supporting collaborations and partnerships
  • Improving access to community resources

Using these approaches as a foundation, practice can more actively engage vulnerable and marginalised groups who would otherwise be excluded from access health and care services, in turn reducing health inequalities and improving health outcomes within communities. The paper places a particular importance on voluntary and peer roles, citing the possibilities in mutual aid within drugs recovery programmes, breastfeeding mums’ groups, health walk volunteers and mental health. This, it argues, would expand capacity and reduced social isolation in both peer supporters and service users.

  • The paper makes a series of recommendations for senior strategic leaders
  • Ensure participation of local community in setting priorities for health and wellbeing initiatives
  • Involve members of the local community in monitoring and evaluating these initiatives
  • Provide members of the local community with the opportunity to take on peer and lay roles for these initiatives

Public Health England suggests that NHS organisations should do the following as part of their engagement ahead of the rollout of any community-centred practice schemes:

  • Speak to local communities
  • Listen to patients and carers
  • Conducting local research to gain insights

They also suggest that local authority, voluntary, community, social enterprise organisations and faith-based organisations are a good source of information for health professionals and managers looking to gain insight to the needs of a local community. Assuming the adoption of peer support, self-management education, health coaching, group activities and asset-based approaches to health and wellbeing, the paper states that local health services might reap benefits in finance through peer support for people with mental health, in health and wellbeing outcomes for people with long-term conditions and in terms of wider social impact with greater self-management for people with cancer. These savings could amount to a saving for commissioners of £2,102 per person per year or £5.2 million per CCG.

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