NHS England backs innovative care initiative

NHS England has today announced a £1.75m investment in an innovative family-based initiative to help more people to be cared for in a home, not a hospital.

The Shared Lives model will support people who have needs which make it hard for them to live on their own, by carefully matching them with a carer to share their family and lives, giving care and support in the community.

People using the scheme may have learning disabilities, dementia, mental health problems or other needs which require long or short term support. It will offer them the opportunity to either live with their matched and approved Shared Lives carer, or visit them regularly for day support or overnight breaks.

This new investment from NHS England will mean funding and support is being made available to Clinical Commissioning Groups to enable:

  • People with learning disabilities to move out of medical institutions into ordinary family homes
  • People recovering from strokes and other health crises to receive their step down care in a Shared Lives household
  • Live-in mental health support including acute support as an alternative to hospital-based treatment
  • Dementia support including day support and short breaks for family carers

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Whether helping someone with a learning disability to build a full life with a network of friends and family, or enabling an older person to recover from an operation in the peace and quiet of a familiar environment – people naturally value care and support in a loving family home. That’s why Shared Lives is an example of the kind of community and people-centred approach which needs to play a much bigger part in the NHS of the future.”

Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus said: “We already see staggering health outcomes from people visiting or living in their chosen Shared Lives arrangement, because Shared Lives carers have the time and space to get to know people really well, understanding not only what they need but also what they are capable of doing for themselves. This partnership is a fantastic opportunity for the NHS to develop a world-leading approach to community based support, which will help people live good lives, but will also save millions from under-pressure NHS budgets.”

Some NHS commissioners and providers already commission Shared Lives, but NHS England have now invested £1.75m in start-up and development funding, which will enable 6 – 10 areas to develop new NHS services on a match-funded basis. Two regions where there is most interest in the model will receive extra support as ‘accelerator regions’.


  1. Jane says:

    This is very welcomed news as more investment in care services is greatly needed, especially specialist care for patients with dementia and etc.

  2. Jenni Kirkham says:

    Expressions of interest for this programme are now open- please see for full details
    Deadlines for applications is 31st May 2016.
    Thank you

  3. Peter Howard says:

    Please provide appropriate contact details so that we may follow this up. Who is the NHSE contact and how do we register our interest?

  4. Jenni Kirkham says:

    Hi, Thanks for your comment Angela, Shared Lives has very good and well established links with local authorities across England (and the UK).
    We will soon be asking CCG’s to express their interest in joining the programme. This process has not yet begun, further details will be released shortly on Please forward any questions about this project onto

  5. Nigel Bradley says:

    How can Shared Lives Schemes get more information regarding this? It would be useful to know what the project areas need to do to obtain funding, and if it is part of a bidding process? And if Shared Lives Schemes need to bid for funding to provide additional services, then what are the expectations (presumably that a Shared Lives scheme would need to have X number of carers available to work with individuals with complex needs). Would a bid not for funding come from the local CCG (and/or in partnership with the SL scheme)? Presumably, because the scheme would be supporting individuals with very complex care needs, then there is potentially a greater impact for local services to support this sort of Shared Lives arrangement? Thank you

  6. Jennifer Kirkham says:

    Hi, Please direct any enquiries about the NHS England Programme and the Shared Lives model to

    Best wishes,

  7. Adrian Timno says:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Would this scheme be open to those affected by Autism?

    Is the initiative limited to those individuals with a learning disability that are being discharged from assessment and treatment unit or of similar hospital placements?

    By what mechanism can interested organisations provide their expression of interest. Are there any templates and where are they located?

    Your assistance would be greatly appreciated

  8. Angela M Cavill-Burch says:

    You need to work closely with local authorities for this to work, as much of the local housing offering for those with disabilities is totally unsuitable making the giving and receiving of specialised care very difficult.