The day commenced with a call for health creation, enabling communities and individuals to work together to identify their requirements, challenge power hierarchies and promote inclusion. The government has confirmed their vision for putting prevention at the top of the health agenda as encapsulated in the new strategy, “Prevention is better than cure” (November, 2018).

The strategy sets the scene for the development of the Prevention Green Paper in 2019. The hosts of the event, New NHS Alliance, supported the direction but noted the individual responsibility identified in the strategy and called for health creation to be the golden thread throughout the NHS.

Working together for health creation

Throughout the day we heard talks from different organisations and individuals with a key theme of anchor institutions working together with the community for the betterment of community health. Although, it was widely acknowledged that how this is achieved is the key barrier to it being realised, so the day focused on how this complexity could be navigated.

In discussions, we heard that community NHS trusts are delivering health care, but under the requirement to focus on cost efficiency. Similarly, housing associations and other groups are enabling people to live a better life and supporting them where there is fallout from poor health or lifestyle, but are limited by the extent of their expertise and established partnerships.

Overcoming barriers for partnership working

A number of delegates pointed to how jobs are measured in terms of KPIs and deliverables making it difficult to find the capacity in individual roles to bridge divides. Signposting is acknowledged as an aspect of bridging silo working, but this only works if a sole issue can be identified and prescribed for differently in each sector. It was agreed that leaders need to be brave and persistent when pushing for change and consider implementing new measures for staff roles.

Capsticks - bringing health and housing together

In breakout sessions, Senior Partner, Rachael Heenan, chaired a session on ‘Workforce as an asset - developing a wellness workforce’. And our Head of Regeneration, Chimi Shakohoxha, also chaired a discussion on 'Physical assets - How might health estate be best used for community benefits? This included an inspiring case study from Connect Housing on how they worked with Calderdale Council to deliver homes for after care hospital patients. Then in the afternoon, Housing Partner, Lee Clarke, hosted an open space discussion on ‘What needs to happen for health estate to be routinely used to address health inequalities and support transformation of health and care?’

One of the key themes from the day was the need to break down barriers in partnership working, and we believe we’re uniquely placed in facilitating collaborative partnerships between NHS trusts and housing associations. Our deep sector expertise in health and housing allows us to build relationships and help organisations to be one step ahead in enabling health creation across our communities.