Voluntary groups given £3million for community health services

The new health services will help people to remain independent and relieve pressure on hospitals and

The new health services will help people to remain independent and relieve pressure on hospitals and GPs. - Credit: Archant

Millions of pounds has been allocated to the voluntary sector and community groups to enable people to access health support in their own homes.

The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) has allocated £3million to voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations for community health services.

It is a major change to the way services are commissioned – with three per cent of the £106million contract going to VCSE groups.

The new health services will support one million people and relieve frontline pressure on GPs and hospitals.

VCSE organisations will be able to help patients access services and maintain their independence.

It should also help people to get the right services at the right time, to avoid conditions developing into a crisis.

Doctor Kate Rush, GP and programme director for the CCG, said: “Proactive care – helping people live independently at home for as long as possible – is a priority for us, and we know people do better when they’re cared for in their own home.

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“We want to provide support beyond a local GP or hospital, by linking up with wellbeing services nearby.

“This will reduce demand on GPs and hospitals, but also keep people fit and independent and treat problems quickly as they arise.”

The new approach will help those with health issues such as diabetes, life-limiting conditions or mobility problems.

It was introduced by the CCG with support from Voscur, which helps charities, community groups and voluntary organisations.

Voscur’s chief executive Sandra Meadows said: “We’re thrilled those who need to access services can receive joined-up care delivered in the community, which should also help reduce isolation at a time when people are at their most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on GPs and hospitals.”

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester previously had separate CCGs, but the three areas were unified in 2018.

Voscur is supporting bidders and VCSE organisations to work together to include community services in proposals to win the CCG contract.

The new community health services provider will begin working with the public in April 2020.