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Report sets out the vital role of health services in wider COVID recovery

Posted: 22nd September 2020

The YHealth for Growth partners today welcome the publication of NHS Confederation’s new report Health as the new wealth: the NHS’s role in economic and social recovery, which has been released as part of their NHS Reset campaign.

The report sets out how health services have a vital role to play in the wider recovery and rebuilding of our local economies and communities – driving up prosperity, population health and wellbeing – in the wake of COVID-19.

Doing this will involve transforming public service planning and delivery throughout a time of unprecedented economic and social disruption – pushing the service to understand its impact and value as local anchor organisations well beyond traditional sectoral boundaries. It will also mean using the system-led approach that is now emerging to drive up population health and wellbeing. The report highlights the strength of the links between health and growth, outlines a five-point plan for every system to build on to maximise their local impact and influence, and showcases innovative practice which is supporting lasting local change.

The five-point plan identifies the steps that NHS Confederation believe the NHS can take in every local economy. It recommends:

  • Developing an anchor network across all health and care bodies within the system footprint
  • Making an explicit commitment to fill existing health and care vacancies with local people
  • Embedding health and care within national and local regeneration planning
  • Proposing a Civic Restoration Strategy
  • Convening industry leaders to source potential new local supply chains

Michael Wood, Head of Health Economic Partnerships at NHS Confederation said:

“While the relationship between health and wealth has always been important, too often decisions about the NHS and the economy have been taken in isolation from each other. Of all the radical changes COVID-19 has highlighted, one of the clearest is that health and care must now be seen as an investment nationally and in every local economy.”

YHealth for Growth’s ‘Levelling up Yorkshire and Humber’ report feature’s as an example of innovative practice with the report saying that:

“… we believe its findings have wider resonance given the prevalence of health inequalities across the country. The narrative and recommendations in particular outline an approach that other regions and systems can take to align health with wealth and to increase their influence over economic investment and recovery planning.”

Richard Stubbs, Chief Executive of Yorkshire & Humber AHSN said:

“The range of partners across Yorkshire and Humber played a significant civic role before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has only accelerated this contribution. We believe our YHealth for Growth work can play a galvanising role in addressing the region’s inequalities and support the government to deliver against its promise of ‘levelling up’ the North.”

Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities said:

“Universities can play a major part within the levelling up agenda in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Working with the AHSN and NHS Confederation on YHealth for Growth played a vital role in strengthening the value of the relationship between higher education and the health and care sector in the region.”

The report also makes recommendations for national government and systems to support and embed this work.

Download the ‘Health as the new wealth: the NHS’s role in economic and social recovery’ report

Read Michael Wood’s accompanying article on the report for the National Health Executive