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Health as a Social Movement will explore how the health service can move beyond a purely biomedical understanding of health, with prevention at its core.

The way we deliver healthcare has become highly adept at remedying acute illnesses and injuries but has been less successful at preventing disease, ensuring high quality of life for people with chronic conditions, or sustaining the World Health Organisation's definition of health as “a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing”.

Working initially with six new care model vanguards across England, NHS England with three national partners (The RSA, the New Economics Foundation and Nesta) will develop, test and spread effective ways of mobilising people in social movements that improve health and care outcomes and show a positive return on investment. This programme will also work with the wider vanguard network and beyond to support development and spread of social movements in health and care.

This programme, running for three years will help develop the future models of care in the NHS. By the end of the programme, vanguards will be able to:

  1. Connect with communities, hear and act on their priorities for health and wellbeing.
  2. Nurture volunteering, social action and an influential third sector to prevent long-term conditions, reduce social isolation and find ways for communities to support each other.
  3. Improve community development skills for staff and communities.
  4. Evaluate what works best in supporting communities across vanguard sites.
  5. Build evidence for intelligent commissioning, which reduces system pressures.
  6. Share learning across health and care on how to nurture social movements in health. 

This ambitious and bold programme will be at the cutting edge of reimagining health. Social movements are underexplored within healthcare and the three national partners aim to contribute to a renewed understanding of how services can become more relevant, responsive and sustainable in the future through testing how social movement thinking could work alongside more traditional healthcare delivery.

Nesta will stimulate thinking and national debate on what we mean by ‘social movements in health and care’.

New Economics Foundation will work with the six vanguards identified above to provide in depth support and evaluation.

The RSA will work with the wider vanguard network and health and care system, sharing and spreading best practice and learning.

 

Six local vanguards will receive national support and funding:

  • Wellbeing Erewash aims to shift investment and energy ‘upstream’ to encourage thriving communities, where people feel confident and supported to choose healthier lifestyles, stay well, know how to get help and Person Centred support when needed. Approaches include supporting time banking, building young people’s resilience and asset-based community development work.
  • The Royal Free Foundation Trust is an Acute Care Collaboration vanguard. As part of this, this project brings together Hillingdon, The Royal Brompton & Harefield, Moorfields and Imperial hospitals to work with the Healthy London Partnership on supporting staff health and wellbeing. This work focuses on the priorities of lower-paid staff, who have traditionally been less involved with health and wellbeing programmes.
  • Stockport Together Multi-Speciality Community Provider has partnered with neighbouring areas Oldham and Tameside to focus its health as a social movement work around themes of loneliness, food and arts. Working closely with community led and third sector organisations, the programme builds on local work developed with Nesta to deliver people powered health approaches."
  • Great Manchester Cancer Vanguard wants to harness the energy of communities and the third sector to improve cancer prevention, recruiting 20,000 cancer champions and expert patients to promote healthy choices and early detection. They will explore the potential of digital technologies to support self-care, create and connect social networks for people affected by cancer.
  • Airedale and Partners ‘Enhanced Health in Care Homes’  aim to improve care and make connections between care homes and the wider community through technology and rolling out telemedicine across 248 care homes. With the Alzheimer’s Society, they will connect residents to local communities, support them to be involved in decisions about their health and empower dementia friends to develop relationships connecting care homes and communities.
  • Better Care Together integrated primary and acute care system vanguard in Morecambe Bay will build on existing support where local residents have formed action groups to improve GP recruitment, created health promotion magazines; promoted pharmacy schemes; led health surveys and taught children to use the NHS. 

 

Download the Health as a Social Movement Summary Plan (280 KB)

TEAM

 

Ian Burbidge

Ian Burbidge

Associate Director, Public Services and Communities

 

Nathalie Spencer

Nathalie Spencer

Senior Researcher and Social Brain Behavioural Science lead

 

Joanna Massie

Joanna Massie

Project Engagement Manager

 

Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison

Research Assistant

 

Fabian Wallace-Stephens

Fabian Wallace-Stephens

Data Research Assistant

 

Daniel Button

Daniel Button

Researcher, Nef

 

Annie Finnis

Annie Finnis

Director, HealthLab, Nesta

 

Jacqueline Castillo

Jacqueline Castillo

Senior Programme Manager, Nesta

 

Madeleine Ellis-Peterson

Madeleine Ellis-Peterson

Research Assistant, Nef

 

Lucie Stephens

Lucie Stephens

Head of Co-production, Nef

 

Julia Slay

Julia Slay

Senior Researcher and Programme Manager, Social Policy at NEF

 

Useful information

The 50 vanguards were selected following a rigorous process, involving workshops and the engagement of key partners and patient representative groups.

Find out more about the vanguard site locations

To find out more about the project please email tom.harrison@rsa.org.uk