We believe that the NHS needs to access the strengths of civil society to do its job in the 21st century. To cope with the changing disease burden and growing financial pressures, the NHS needs to take advantage of the broad range of capabilities of this sector. It needs to listen to and understand patients’ lives; it needs to enable patients, families and communities to support their own health; and it needs to coordinate care with the powerful informal networks that surround individuals. Without the support, cooperation and engagement of civil society, this will not happen. Housing associations, charities, social enterprises, and community groups all have an important role to play.
This report builds on the Young Foundation’s work with organisations across all these categories, as well as with NHS organisations keen to reach out to them. We have worked with hundreds of innovation projects and enterprises within and around the NHS. We support them not only to succeed in their immediate goals, but to spread and diffuse their insights widely through the system, supporting the spread of innovation at pace and scale.