What is the “Community Deal”?
The Frimley Integrated Health and Care System (ICS) Strategy, Creating Healthier Communities, is focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the people who live and work here. The Community Deal is at the heart of this ambitious strategy, recognising that real change cannot be achieved just by organisations –everyone has a role to play. The dictionary defines a deal as “an agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit”– and that ethos is the driver for the strategy. Essentially, this is about “doing with”, not “doing to” people. Through the work of this ambition, the Frimley ICS is looking to build a different relationship with its communities and residents, as well as with its own staff. This relationship will enable us to design and deliver solutions together. It recognises that public organisations no longer have the resources to do everything and as individuals, we all have to take more responsibility to look after ourselves and each other so that we can live in healthy and thriving communities. We want to focus on harnessing individuals’ and communities’ strengths, together with services, to find solutions.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has had devastating impacts on individuals and families –but through it, we have seen the early signs of the new “Deal”. People were asked to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives –and we have seen how that impacted positively on the rate and spread of infection. We have seen thousands of people spontaneously volunteer to do shopping for their neighbours, collect prescriptions or pick up the phone and have a conversation. And as a result of that, vulnerable people have been identified who need help and received it before their needs escalated into crisis.
We all have a part to play
We all have a part to play, whether it is:
- Learning how to manage our own and our families’ minor illnesses and long-term conditions – which puts less pressure on services so they can meet the needs of those who need them more
- Taking more exercise or looking after what we eat – improving our physical and mental health outcomes
- Shopping more with local retailers – which improves the overall economic prosperity of the area
- Volunteering for local organisations – building and strengthening friendships and connections in our communities
- Looking out for vulnerable neighbours –ensuring we spot the early signs of deterioration so we can put preventative measures in place early
Whatever individuals do, it will make a positive difference and build strengthened, happy and thriving communities. There are things that we know need to improve across the whole of the Frimley Integrated Care System –which covers East Berkshire, North East Hampshire and Farnham and Surrey Heath. Things like school readiness, more years of healthy life expectancy, improving emotional and mental health, reducing obesity, reducing smoking prevalence, and improving digital skills...But we also know that one size won’t fit all. So, we’re breaking the solutions down into places –which are boroughs –and neighbourhoods –that reflect the newly formed collaborations of GP Practices (Primary Care Networks). Just as each individual person is different, we know that individual places and neighbourhoods are different. The solutions that we will build together will respond to the needs in those areas and won’t necessarily look or feel the same as another area.
It is important to have some principles that will guide the development of the Community Deal in each place or neighbourhood and the principles we’ll be working to are:
- Everyone has a part to play in building and creating healthier communities
- Using the Community Deal to enable children to have the best start in life and to focus on wellbeing will have the most impact on improving health and wellbeing across all communities.
- Building strong neighbourhoods and places will impact positively on overall health and wellbeing outcomes.
- Individuals and communities must have the freedom to innovate.
Fundamentally, it is that spirit of every individual and every organisation playing their part that we want to harness in order to create healthier communities.
A Population Health approach aims to improving the health of an entire population. It is about improving the physical and mental health outcomes and wellbeing of people within and across a defined local, regional or national population, while reducing health inequalities. It includes action to reduce the occurrence of ill health, action to deliver appropriate health and care services and action on the wider determinants of health. It requires working with communities and partner agencies. This short animation from the Kings Fund provides an overview of the approach and how it requires support from everyone in a local community. For more information about Population Health approaches from The Kings Fund please click here.