Communities are becoming the centre of health care innovation, and it’s about time.
It’s been well documented that Government finances are stretched, the NHS is battling against increasing demand and the health of those living in poverty is at an unenviable low.
Last week saw the launch of the NHS Third Sector CCG Grant Scheme, which offers Leeds charities and community projects the chance to bid for up to £50,000 of NHS funds to better health outcomes in deprived parts of Leeds.
Consisting of a combined £1million pot from NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in south, east and north Leeds, NHS bosses have deemed that the move will give local communities the opportunity to shape how health challenges such as alcohol and smoking-related illnesses and high levels of obesity can be overcome.
And the statistics make stark reading. A report to Leeds City Council’s health scrutiny board in 2010 showed the average life expectancy for men in the City and Hunslet ward was 71.6 years as opposed to 81.7 years in Harewood – something that might once have been addressed by NHS staff far removed from communities.
In part due to financial necessity, the opinions of communities and charities are being sought far more to change our health fortunes.
A guide published by Public Health England and NHS England, authored by a Professor Jane South of Leeds Beckett University, last week also backed the suggestion that community-centred approaches can help to tackle such inequalities.
So whether its talking more to service users or handing grants to groups on the ground, Leeds communities should help lead the health fight.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR HEALTH FUNDS
Two NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Leeds have funded a £1million scheme for third sector Leeds health projects.
The NHS CCG Third Sector Health Grants Scheme was launched in front of more than 100 community group, health and public sector representatives in Leeds on Thursday.
Health chiefs are offering community and charity projects grants of up to £50,000 to reduce health inequalities between the city’s poorest and richest areas.
The deadline for applications for the first grant round is June 30. Visit leedscf.org.uk/third-sector-health-grants.