Healthier places and communities
Health and wellbeing are profoundly influenced by what happens in places and communities and by how the services operating in a place interconnect. Health and care organisations, local government and other local agencies need to work more closely together, co-ordinating the services they deliver to people. They also need to work in partnership with citizens and communities, and harness the vital contribution of the voluntary and community sector. These principles are at the heart of a population health approach, which aims to improve health outcomes, promote wellbeing and reduce health inequalities across local populations.
The King’s Fund has been at the forefront of developing integrated care, population health and place-based working, building the evidence base, influencing policy and supporting local implementation. We will build on this work, bringing together our unique combination of skills and expertise in policy and leadership development to shape healthier places and communities. We will help those working to improve health and wellbeing in the places in which they live and work by supporting them to collaborate across different organisations, and to draw on the diversity and strengths of their communities.
Tackling the worst health outcomes
It is well known that some groups in the population have significantly poorer health outcomes and worse experiences of using health and care services than others. Tackling this injustice requires broad-based action involving many different organisations and sectors. While much of this depends on addressing the wider determinants of health that lie beyond the reach of the health and care system, the system does have a critical role to play to improve the services it provides to those at greatest risk of poor health and to maximise its contribution to reducing health inequalities by working in partnership with other sectors and services.
Our work on population health has argued that national government should aim to reduce health inequalities in England to the levels seen in the countries with the most equitable health outcomes. To contribute towards this, our work over the next five years will place a greater emphasis on improving health and care for people with the worst health outcomes and experiences of services. We will put population health at the heart of what we do and support the health and care system to work in partnership with others to do all it can to achieve better health for all.
Supporting people and leaders
The workforce crisis in health and care poses the single greatest risk to access to and quality of care. Addressing staff shortages will require a transformation in the way care is delivered and the development of new roles and capabilities. It will also mean making health and care organisations better places to work, creating supportive, inclusive cultures and addressing the unacceptable levels of stress, bullying and discrimination that currently exist.
We will work alongside health and care leaders to ensure there are enough people with the right skills to deliver high-quality, person-centred care, now and in the future. We will support those working in health and care to develop collective, compassionate and inclusive leadership, promoting staff wellbeing and enabling individuals and teams to work at their best. This will build on our previous work examining the health and care workforce, extending our focus to community-based support – including those working in primary and community services, social care services, the voluntary and community sector, volunteers and others – and combining it with our expertise around leadership and culture. As part of this, we will explore the role digital technologies can play in supporting people working in health and care, and the changes needed to ensure the workforce is equipped for a digital future.
Foundations of health and care
Our broad knowledge of the health and care system and the relationships we hold across the system form the foundation of our work. We will continue to provide independent analysis, explain key issues and respond to developments across the breadth of health and care, making sense of a complex and changing landscape. This will underpin all the work we do. We will continue to use our independence to speak truth to power and will not be afraid to challenge vested interests.