The NHS is essential, but good health depends on much more
- 26 November 2019
- Posted by: Helen Nicol
- Category: News
According to the VCSE Collective, the next government needs not only to support the NHS, but also to work across parties and departments to focus on people’s health.
The VCSE Collective are an alliance of voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, organisations and networks that support people to live as well as possible. In their article for Medium, they argue that the nation’s health is declining, and that the debate around the election is at risk of over-simplification.
Health is about physical and mental health and wellbeing — across the life-course, including at the end of life. As important as hospitals are, they are rarely where good health is created. Health is made good or bad within the neighbourhoods and communities we live in.
The Collective are calling for any new government to set up a cross-party working group to begin work immediately on these actions:
- Government to make health — physical health, mental health and wellbeing — an overarching goal across all ministerial departments. The Local Government Association’s Health in All Policies approach could provide a useful foundation.
- Cross-party commitment to promote the health of current and future generations — beyond a focus on the NHS and social care as a set of statutory services.
- Time — both parliamentary and public airtime — for domestic policy and legislation.
- A comprehensive national physical health, mental health and wellbeing strategy — similar to the Industrial Strategy — outlining the contributions of all ministerial departments and key partners to improving population health.
- Urgent investment that recognises and strengthens community contributions to health, especially through local authorities and the voluntary sector.
- Resolve social care in the short-term and resource it to be both responsive and preventative to need in the longer-term — securing sustainable care and support for both working age and older adults.