A new £1 million funding and development programme to improve the health of Londoners was announced today by The King's Fund.
The new scheme, Partners for Health in London, will replace The King's Fund's existing grants programme from June and will focus the health charity's development efforts on four areas where health needs remain unmet. These are end-of-life care, sexual health, mental health advocacy and integrated health care.
Partners for Health in London will offer total funding of £1 million annually for organisations to work with The King's Fund to improve the health of Londoners across these four areas, as well as providing development support for those partners.
On top of this, The King's Fund is setting up a Strategic Development Fund to invest a further £500,000 a year into additional work to test out new approaches to health care in practice.
Speaking today at an event to announce a series of new developments at The King's Fund, chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'This is an entirely new approach to our role in funding work to improve health in London. Over the next few years we will focus our efforts on key areas where health needs remain unmet, and where there is scope to improve services and share learning.
'We're determined to make sure that everybody receives high quality palliative care and that they have greater choice over their place of death; to encourage better use of complementary therapies by the NHS; to help people with mental health problems understand their choices and be able to access appropriate services; and to work to secure better sexual health for Londoners, particularly for those in ethnic minority communities. We hope to make significant contributions in each of these areas with our Partners for Health in London programme.'
A number of major new policy activities were also announced at the event. The King's Fund will take forward the following projects in 2005:
- Reviewing prescription charges Later this year, The King's Fund will look at prescription charges for people with long-term conditions and review the fairness of the current arrangements, which are widely acknowledged to be illogical, outdated and inequitable.
- Ensuring fairer access for black and minority ethnic communities Later in 2005, The King's Fund will conduct an audit into the scale of inequalities in access to health care facing Londoners from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.
- Analysing future health care funding The NHS has received unprecedented levels of funding over the last five years, but the huge increases are unlikely to be sustained beyond 2007/8. So how will we know when enough is enough? This will be the subject of a major report The King's Fund will publish this autumn.
- Examining public involvement in the NHS Foundation trusts have been told that they should involve local communities, but are the new arrangements working? The King's Fund will publish the findings of its recent initiative to bring together around 60 governors from first wave foundation trusts to hear their views. Work in this area will continue with the culmination of a year-long study into one foundation trust in London, and its new governance arrangements.
- Review of public health programme Following the government's publication of its public health White Paper in November 2004, The King's Fund is reviewing its public health programme. This will continue to be a vital part of The King's Fund's activities and the new programme will involve both monitoring progress on public health and undertaking original work to develop ideas that help people keep as healthy as possible.
Notes to editors:
1. Over the last five years The King's Fund has provided £1 million to support the work of The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health in establishing effective regulation for complementary practice. In December 2004, the Department of Health announced it was awarding a grant of £900,000 to The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health for it to continue its work on the regulation of complementary healthcare. The three-year grant will begin in April 2005.
2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.