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Bristol Voluntary and Community Health Sector to get £3 million boost

New community health services, about to be commissioned by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG), are set to support one million people.

In a major change to the way that services are commissioned, the service provider will be required to sub-contract £3.18 million (3% of the £106 million per year contract) to local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

Supporters of the move claim that VCSE organisations will be able to help patients to access services and maintain their independence and health, while relieving some of the frontline pressure on GPs and hospitals.

It is also hoped involving community organisations will help prevent conditions developing into crisis by supporting people to get the right services at the right time.

According to Voscur, an organisation which helps community and voluntary-run organisations in and around Bristol, this new approach to commissioning will also help those with health issues, such as diabetes, life-limiting conditions or mobility problems, find relevant support close to home or even in their own home.

Sandra Meadows, Chief Executive of Voscur, said:

We believe embedding the involvement of community organisations in this way will mean that people and communities are better supported, that CCG services will be more effective and that the whole system will be improved as a result. We’re thrilled that those who need to access services can receive joined-up care delivered in the community, which should also help reduce isolation at a time when people are at their most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on GPs and hospitals.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester previously had separate Clinical Commissioning Groups, but the three areas were unified in 2018, bringing together budgets and management. The CCG is now looking to commission a single community health provider, rather than the three previous providers used, and voluntary and community-run organisations can be sub-contracted by this provider for a range of services.

Dr Kate Rush, GP and Programme Director for the Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

Proactive care – helping people to live independently at home for as long as possible – is a priority for us, and we know people do better when they’re cared for in their own home.

We want to provide support beyond a local GP or hospital, by linking up with wellbeing services nearby. This will reduce demand on GPs and hospitals, but also keep people fit and independent and treat problems quickly as they arise.

The new community health services provider will begin working with the public in April 2020.