New NHS Alliance announces today a call to action for primary and community services to address health inequalities. ‘Health creation’ is an evidence-based approach that is about putting people in control of their own lives. The New NHS Alliance believes that by focusing wholly on assessing needs and delivering services to a population, it can encourage passivity and dependency and drive up demand. Instead it is calling for commissioners and providers of primary care to go into partnership with communities, listen to what they say and enable community-led solutions.
Instead of a wholly needs-led approach, the New NHS Alliance suggests it is complemented by an assets-based approach, seeing people as having strengths and knowledge that can be built upon. We see this as more cost effective and builds community resilience, which over generations will eventually slow the tide of demand.
New NHS Alliance has adopted the ‘3Cs of health creation’, drawing from the work of the Young Foundation, which are:
- Control over the circumstances of our own lives
- Contact with other people that is meaningful and constructive
- Confidence to see ourselves as an asset, to be in a position to take actions and responsibility and to have a positive impact on those around us
Despite improving overall longevity and managing illness better, the NHS has failed over the decades to significantly reduce health inequalities and manage demand. Health and social care organisations have new legal duties to reduce health inequalities, yet a recent report from CASS University of London shows that the gap in longevity between the UK’s richest and poorest has remained stubbornly at more than 30 years. In the last 5 years has even started to increase for the first time since Victorian times. The report puts this down to ‘lifestyle choices’ but neglects the idea that when people feel they cannot control their life they experience chronic stress. This can lead to raised cortisol levels, which in turn leads to cardiovascular disease.
New NHS Alliance has over 20 years direct experience of ‘health creation’, working in some of the most disadvantaged communities in England, and can demonstrate that the 3Cs are equally important to the 3Ps: health promotion, health protection and prevention of ill health. As Sir Michael Marmot said, “we need to address the ’causes of the causes’ of ill-health”. New NHS Alliance thinks that only by forming strong relationships and listening to communities can these causes and community-led solutions be found.
This asset/strengths-based approach to public health is not a new concept; it was described as far back as when the Ottowa Charter of 1986. However, in the intervening period New NHS Alliance has developed a deep experience of actually making it work.
Health Creation requires a radical change in organisational culture and approach which means sharing power and control with the communities we serve and to move away from the default choice of delivering yet more services.
Notes to Editors
For more information please contact Sophie Lap at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07725 555 030
New NHS Alliance is a movement of people and organisations who are committed to building a sustainable, community-based health service. They are an entirely solutions focused organisation, unique in its approach bringing together more than 10,000 passionate individuals and organisations across primary care who believe innovation, connections and integration are key to the sustainability of a health service that remains free to all at the point of need. New NHS Alliance promote greater collaboration between organisations within the NHS and between the NHS, communities, local authorities, innovative enterprises and other local enablers of prevention and health creation.
- Please find a link to the Health Creation briefing here.
- Please find a link to a Housing Learning and Improvement Network and Public Health England paper produced in collaboration with the New NHS Alliance here.