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Realising the value of engaging people in their own health and care – Pritti Mehta

Work on implementing the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV) is happening at pace and all eyes are now on the New Models of Care programme with the recent launch of the Vanguard sites.

And the Integrated Personal Commissioning demonstrators are moving from planning to delivery.

There’s real energy, commitment and passion, which is fantastic to see.

However, as our excitement builds, system leaders such as the Kings Fund and the Coalition for Collaborative Care, remind us to stay focused on what is perhaps the most radical and fundamental aim of the FYFV – to engage people and communities in their own health and care.

Why is this so important now? It is a fact of life that people manage their health and care on their own or with support of their family and carers, the vast majority of the time. We also know that people who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to take on this role are more likely to choose preventative and healthy behaviours, have better health and social outcomes, better experience of services and lower health care costs.

Nevertheless, evidence suggests 25 to 40 per cent of the population do not feel that they have the confidence and skills to take on this role, and that the NHS does not work well for them. Tackling this health inequality could be the ‘make it or break it’ difference to improving people’s health and happiness and in sustaining our NHS.

It is for precisely this reason that the Realising the Value Programme has been established by NHS England.

This programme aims to strengthen the case for change, identify evidence-based approaches that engage individuals and communities in their own health and care, and develop tools to support implementation across the NHS and local communities.

But putting people and communities genuinely in control of their health and care requires a shift in power that goes much deeper than a set of interventions. As such, the Realising the Value Programme will have a particular focus on the culture change needed to achieve wide scale transformation, along with consideration of the systems barriers and levers that could be used to support change at national and local level.

The programme of work is being undertaken by a consortium led by Nesta and the Health Foundation, both of whom are organisations with a long history of innovative work in this area. The team leading this work also includes National Voices, Regional Voices, NAVCA and CSV who bring with them the ability to engage widely with patients, the public and voluntary and community sector organisations.

In addition to this, the Behavioral Insights Team will add its expertise on culture change, and Newcastle University will undertake economic modelling to support the development of the case for change and the identification of evidence based approaches.

The principle of coproduction is central to this programme; the project will build on practical experience and cases studies from local areas, and will work with local sites to ensure that tools to support change are genuinely useful and implementable at the local level.

Please see the Realising the Value website for more information or to get involved: www.realisingthevalue.org.uk


Pritti Mehta, Strategy lead for the Person Centred Care team at NHS EnglandPritti Mehta is Strategy lead for the Person Centred Care team at NHS England.

She played a key role in supporting the development of the NHS Five Year Forward View, in particular the chapter relating to a ‘new relationship with patients and communities’ and is now leading the Realising the Value Programme.

Pritti has over 12 years’ experience in the voluntary sector, in using evidence to influence change across health and care services.

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