As part of the work taking place to look at how health and care will work post-covid, the King's Fund has produced The road to renewal: five priorities for health and care which calls for action in five areas:
- a step change on inequalities and population health;
- lasting reform for social care;
- putting the workforce centre stage,
- embedding and accelerating digital change, and
- reshaping the relationship between communities and public services.
The recommendations for reshaping the relationship between communities and public services are worth reducing in full:
- Health and care services should understand and work with communities’ priorities, needs and strengths. This should be achieved through meaningful local involvement – with a particular focus on those who experience ill health, disability and inequalities – and supporting people to improve their own health. For local systems, embedding this way of working will require sustained cultural change; places which have made progress on this agenda, like Wigan, can point the way.
- Local health and care systems should take steps to safeguard the role of voluntary and community organisations as long-term partners in promoting health and wellbeing. This will require public services to work with, and provide support to, local community leaders and organisations, many of which have been hit financially by the pandemic.
- National organisations cannot mandate these kinds of changes, but they can help remove the barriers that make it harder for them to take root. Government departments and NHS national bodies should seek to support a community-led approach to public services by involving local leaders and communities in policy design, supporting a greater role for local government in shaping local health and care services, and changing the current top-down approach to how health system performance is measured and addressed.