What the Health is going on?

Hands up – it has been a while since any reports on attendance at health meetings, so this blog is designed to rectify that and to draw together some general thoughts on health related issues and the voluntary sector.

So what is going on – the big news is that the new provider for adult services has been announced. UnitingCare Partnership, which is a consortium of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are the lucky winners. They will have a duty to work with voluntary sector providers and we will need to keep a close eye on how the sector can get involved and especially how smaller local providers can be supported.

Another big announcement saw the publication of the Public Health Annual Report This can be viewed here. This report sets out the different health issues facing the county broken down by district. The report will inform much of the future work across the council and CCG and should be regarded as a source of information for VCS organisations.

Other big health news includes

  • The Better Care Fund which is a government plan for allowing local areas to reform health care. It looks to move funding from acute to community health provision. The County Council are responsible for this and have put in their initial plans to government. This has been a long and difficult process and the sector have been involved to some part, but expressions of interest for projects have not been taken forward despite the time and effort put into preparing them. More information can be found in the papers from the latest Health and Wellbeing Board here.
  • The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group CCG have been developing a Five Year Plan. More information can be found on the CCG website. There is ongoing discussion as to the role of the VCS in this and it is important that we keep an eye on how providers can get involved. The fact that this area is one of the countries ‘financially challenged health authorities’ probably precludes lots of money for grants to support projects, this does not mean that some funding should not flow into the sector.

These notes follow attendance at the following meetings (if papers are available follow the links)

So what does all this tell us about health and what the voluntary sector can do?

There seem to a whole raft of positives for the sector in all these new initiatives. Firstly everyone is expressing their love for the work that we do to ensure healthier communities; secondly there is a real narrative that services have to move to a more preventative nature, this is great for the sector because as a rule it is where the bulk of our work is situated. Thirdly there is a move to a more person centred, local style of service, again right up the sectors street. There are undoubtedly going to be opportunities for sector providers to play a role in the new ways of working but things are not all rosy – given that there are severe financial constraints, given that commissioning does not generally favour the small, localised and specialist services that a lot of CCVS members provide, and given that acute services can not be stopped and will continue to demand greater funding despite the desire to work more preventively.

Finally we must recognise that change brings about a certain amount of introspection and this has been evident in those organisations responsible for funding health and wellbeing; hopefully, although there are still changes happening, both the CCG and the County Council are looking out more and more. I believe that it is important that as they start looking out they see a confident and professional VCS waiting to take up the opportunities that arise. There needs to be more joined up thinking about how the sector delivers and this is starting to happen, and there needs to be projects that clearly align with the priorities that have been articulated.

South Cambs Local Health Partnership

South Cambs Local Health Partnership

The papers for this meeting are not made publically available on the South Cambs website.

This meeting discussed 4 different topics. To some extent many of these issues overlap and all feed into the various priorities of the health and wellbeing board strategy. The VCS is playing an important role in delivering services in these areas and will have to adapt to the changing environment, but at the same time we need to make sure our contribution is recognised.

Please let me have your thoughts on the questions posed, and the blog in general, as the more information and feedback we have the stronger our arguments are and the better we are able to spot opportunities and issues that are emerging.

Housing related support in South Cambs

Housing related support services have always been offered to those living in council accommodation. They are designed to help people remain in their homes and to stay healthy and fit whilst there. They are offered to people across the age range, however in South Cambs the majority of those assisted are elderly. That said there are links into services for those suffering homelessness, domestic abuse or other problems that might see them unable to maintain their tenancy. The Housing Related Support Team is a county wide service based at CCC.

For more info see here www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/social/supportingpeople/

New plans are afoot to expand the service to everyone who needs it. This has some potential problems despite the fact that it is a good idea. My issues are, what is the budget and what happens if money runs out; what are the criteria for getting free help and for being told where to access the same, but paid for, help.

My questions for you:

Is this a treat to the services you supply or could it be an opportunity?

What services to supply that help people stay in their homes and stay healthy that you think the team should know about so they can refer people to you?

The impact of the new growth areas

The problem of what happens when we build lots of new homes is on many peoples minds at the moment. People in those houses need access to services and amenities, there needs to be a community to help improve peoples wellbeing and ideally there needs to be an integration with existing communities.

Many of the physical amenities and payment for some of the services comes from the developers in return for being allowed to build. What I do not understand is how the power has shifted into the hands of the developer and away from the planners etc. so that the developers are dictating what they will supply. The meeting highlighted that all the statutory partners can not get their act together to come up with a single definitive plan to build healthy communities, and that  the tension between different teams in some statutory bodies often seem to result in mixed messages coming out of one authority, so adding to the lack of a single voice talking to the developers. Surely if we all speak as one we can build for communities and not for profits!

There needs to be shift back to ensuring that the services and amenities that make a community are put in place and can be maintained. We have many good examples (as well as bad ones) both nationally and locally and these should be built on and the developers made to pay where that is appropriate.

My questions for you:

How do we stand up to the developers to ensure that the facilities and funding is put ahead of profits?

What is it that makes a successful new development?

Access to services by Young People and Families

There are considerable numbers of services being supplied by the VCS, many are recognised and supported, however much of the work is under the radar and with those families and individuals who have not reached the thresholds for intervention by health, social services, the local authority or the Police etc. A great deal of the work is preventative and stops issues escalating and as such helps reduce the costs to statutory services.

This will be an on-going topic of conversation for the LHP and it would be good to have your views on what you are doing, how it is funded, and whether it is recognised as saving people money.

Issues affecting the elderly community (this incorporated the Ageing well agenda that has been joined to the LHP agenda)

The growing problem of an aging population keeps raising its head. There is undoubtedly going to be big changes to the services and what is on offer as well as what people want and expect. What is clear is that there is no long term plan within any of our statutory partners; even Addenbrooks only really looks to 3 or 4 years in the future, despite the fact it takes upwards of 8 years to develop new facilities that may be needed.

We need to start to think about what our services will look like in the future and how they may be delivered.

Upcoming opportunity – The young peoples sexual health service tender will be put out soon. Check out the Cambridgeshire Source website where it will be announced.