29th May, 2015

It's increasingly being recognised that activities provided by voluntary organisations have a positive impact on people's health and well-being – both physical and mental. However, there has historically been quite a chasm between the clinical side of treating poor health and activities that promote positive health, with very little investment in or recognition of the voluntary sector's contribution. Wakefield CCG has recently created a new post which aims to bridge this gap.

Hello - my name is Lee Beresford and this is my first blog for Nova. By the way of an introduction I would like to let you know that having worked for the NHS for more than 30 years (and the last 14 in Wakefield) in a variety of posts, I was earlier this year delighted to be asked by my employer Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to become its 'third sector champion'. So what does this championing role involve? In short, I am challenged to be active in four broad areas:

  1. Raising awareness of the opportunities and benefits of working more closely with the local third sector to my own organisation and its commissioning teams;
  2. Working with and supporting what I have discovered to be consistently highly professional and dedicated individuals and organisations with our local third sector to better understand, access and influence the local health economy, its market and its associated commissioners;
  3. Add to the existing strong partnership working and plans for integration that currently already exist with the Local Authority; and
  4. Influencing the policy, procedures and structures of local health contracting and procurement.

In order to really tackle the enormous challenges facing the NHS it is important for the whole NHS to strengthen its focus upon and support for services of all kinds that in being more active and available 'earlier' can better promote good health and recovery and prevent illness and hospitalisation. I firmly believe that the ability of the local third sector to contribute in this arena is strong and that to play a full part it is important that the sector is better supported.

This can be best achieved by not re-inventing the wheel as we have done so many times before and brought about new services that ineffectively link with or overlay existing resources in our communities. I am working to convince, to gather support and to gain commitment within the CCG for health funding to flow more directly into those communities through existing 'community anchors'. It is my intention to write about all of these ideas in more detail in future blogs.

If you are interested to talk to me please leave a comment below.

Comments (1)

By Dave Swindlehurst: Jun 01, 2015 at 01:00 PM

Hi Lee, This sounds like and excellent development for the CCG in recognising and supporting the work of the VCS in Wakefield delivering better health outcomes for the community. Would welcome a conversation with you!

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