The Department of Health, Public Health England, and NHS England initiated a review of the role of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations in improving health wellbeing and care outcomes. We were one of the voluntary sector organisations consulted in this process.
The report confirms that VCSE’s are vital in reducing the human, as well as the financial costs, associated with health inequalities. These organisations, viewed by their communities as trustworthy and accessible, add ‘social value’ by promoting the specific and intersectional needs of their communities and actively involving them, caring for the whole person, and assisting in navigating the health system better. Yet, they face challenges. For example, groups that face health and wellbeing inequalities are often badly identified; some commissioners believe that there is a ‘one solution fits all’ for a range of black and minority ethnic groups. Other times, VCSE’s feel that, even though they might have been consulted, their involvement does not change anything. Many VCSE organisations hence value a policy leadership around promoting equalities and tacking health inequality. The Strategic Partners Programme, in which we take part too, is thus seen as critical in facilitating the involvement of VCSE in policy development by reaching people the statutory system may struggle to connect with, scale these experience up and consequently share them.
Read the full review here.