The NHS Long Term Plan – what opportunities are there for health and social care social enterprises?

Hospital Interior BlurA key trend that will continue over this 10-year period is providing care in the right places – so rather than people seeking help through emergency hospital admissions the focus is on providing effective support at home and in care homes – to prevent hospital admissions. There are opportunities for social enterprises that can find ways to support people to stay well at home.

Our ageing population has significant impact on the usage of health services, and social care that can successfully reduce falls, health conditions that are a consequence of loneliness and isolation, and frailty are all opportunities for social enterprises.

Self-care and self-management of long-term health conditions will continue to expand – again providing opportunities for social enterprises that can create innovative ways to prevent respiratory illnesses, diabetes, mental health problems and heart failure.

As well as support that improves the quality of life for individuals, such as cancer survivors and dementia sufferers, so they can manage their conditions themselves as much as possible. The priorities over the next five years are:

  • Diabetes prevention and management
  • Asthma and respiratory conditions
  • Maternity and parenting support
  • Online therapies for common mental health problems

Social prescribing will be supported further as will personal health budgets. All exciting opportunities for social enterprises to deliver support.

The plan aims for care to be more integrated – either through better systems or teams of staff covering community health, social care and GP services and linking to acute services. Organisations that can find ways to integrate different healthcare professionals effectively will excel in this area.

There’s still a long way to go in tackling health inequalities between different areas and groups of people – especially those with long-term conditions; and organisations that focus on specific localised health inequalities could have more opportunities.

Overall, the new Plan provides a general direction of travel where people will be expected to manage their own health better – as part of preventing ill health and as part of managing long-term health conditions. Innovation and new ways of working will be required – and who better to do this than social enterprises?

See more detail on the NHS website >