Norman Lamb: Support for Volunteer Groups across our Health and Care System

Charities and not-for-profit organisations offer an extraordinary range of care services across the UK. They offer millions of people access to high-quality treatment, advice and support. Brilliant innovation in care often happens in this sector. It is critical that the NHS works hand in hand with third sector organisations to make full use of the important work that they carry out in enabling people to live healthier, more independent lives.

Last week I announced the latest round of funding for the Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development (IESD) Fund, which is designed to support voluntary groups in promoting health and wellbeing in local communities.

The funding is awarded primarily to groups and organisations that are working on improving key areas of social care, such as expanding patient choice and control and developing long-term care and support initiatives. In the 2013-14 round of funding £5.5 million is being invested in 49 organisations that are now carrying out a wide range of projects across the UK, covering areas such as promoting physical exercise among children, tackling health inequalities in men, and improving support for dementia sufferers and their carers.

It is essential that we shift our focus to more preventive care. If people stay healthy and if you can also stop conditions deteriorating, then everyone benefits. We can achieve better care and help to ensure that the NHS and care services are sustainable. Voluntary groups collaborating with statutory services are essential in this endeavour.

I am pleased that this latest round of IESD funding will help to strengthen links between NHS trusts and the voluntary sector by promoting patient access to the wide range of support options available to them in their community. It’s another important step in encouraging an integrated, joined-up approach to health and social care in the UK.

Voluntary organisations can find out more about the fund by clicking here.

* Norman Lamb is MP for North Norfolk and was Liberal Democrat Minister of State at the Department of Health until May 2015. He now chairs the Science and Technology Select Committee

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  • tony dawson 1st Sep '13 - 9:42am

    After(starting under Labour) pouring billions into the pockets of senior NHS managers who are recycling themselves between ‘independent'(sic) Trusts etc as ‘redundant’, and Bantustanifying Health and Care quality control into a crazy and costly complexity, perhaps we shall have to rely much more on voluntary organisations. 🙁

  • A Social Liberal 1st Sep '13 - 7:52pm

    It is fantastic to have charitable organisations working alongside the NHS. To have these charitable organisations doing the work instead of our NHS would be diabolical.

    I volunteer for the RBL, a charity that does many things for our serving and exservice men and women and their families because governments have ever treated our community with contempt. To see our sick brought to the level that the armed forces community finds itself would be intolerable

  • Richard Boyd OBE DL 2nd Sep '13 - 4:04pm

    Amazing! Over 3 years into Government and we are told that the NHS should work with charities. My experience over 12 years was that the NHS managers would do their best to bypass charities, innovation, or replacement of “their” services by preventive measures. We ran on outreach health improvement project with 3 adapted mini-buses a senior and 2 junior nurses, and focused on the “hard to reach”. We got awards and praise. We got no contracts as we were passed from budget holder to budget holder; sent to meetings where we repeated exactly what we had told the previous manager (now moved on and no records in the system) and saw our work copied or handed to commercial providers. Our project ran for 4 years on lottery and other funding. The NHS gave almost nothing. Look at and weep.

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