Thursday, 17 July 2014

Prudent healthcare - a new approach

On a sunny afternoon in July 2013 we held our first Health & Housing conference – celebrating the 65th Birthday of the NHS. Housing associations have and continue to be vital partners of the health service. This year we broaden the scope and equally the message - health, housing and social care - doing the right thing at the right time.

It’s fair to say the last year has been a trying time for the NHS with high profile inquiries into standards of care, ambulances queuing outside hospital doors, and difficulties for most local health boards in balancing their books. On the flip side we've also seen an NHS that has taken action to change how services are delivered, engaged with political scrutiny on various areas of work and continued to deliver excellent levels of care to people in Wales.

That's not to paint over the cracks; there are clearly challenges around increasing demand and dwindling resources. Housing associations can and many are already helping to reduce this demand. The good news is that the links are simple, worryingly simple in fact, and as housing associations we need our health board colleagues to sit up and take notice when we say we can help with respite care, reducing delayed transfer of care and providing preventative services - which means people not turning up at their GP surgery, or their hospital A&E service.

At CHC we’ve worked with members to highlight the massive impact housing associations have on the health and wellbeing of the individuals and communities they work with. It really is about more than bricks and mortar. Housing associations have become experts at working closely with tenants, community regeneration and providing innovative care services.

Local health boards in Wales have taken advantage of these links in some areas as we highlight in the briefing launched at today's conference - Partnerships to deliver the NHS required now and in the future.

This publication doesn't pull any punches; it rightly doesn’t water down messages but highlights that there is highly positive work and projects taking place – but we can and must do more. As organisations and sectors, we serve people with multiple needs through a wide range of services and there are clearly opportunities to better coordinate how services are delivered by the right person at the right time.

Prudent Healthcare ushers in a new approach to providing healthcare which places the individual at the heart of service delivery, with responsibility on services to do only what is necessary and for individuals to take responsibility for their own health behaviours. In terms of the future of how health and housing work together, there should be no mistake that we are central to this approach - prudency is after all at the heart of what housing associations do.

Matt Kennedy
Policy Officer: Care, Support and Health 

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