With George Osborne making around £20m of public sector cuts and £200m already taken out of public health spending what is the future of public health going to look like?
With health inequalities growing, increased demand on acute services and a reduction in social care spending what will the health of our nation look like in 2020?
It’s clear that we need to think of a new model of delivering public health services.
In 2011 a team of public health specialists in Salford span out of the NHS to create one of the country’s first public service mutuals, a social enterprise committed to inspiring people to lead healthier and happier lives.
Over the last five years Social adVentures has delivered three times as many services on the same public sector money and has generated an impressive social return on investment.
So how have we achieved this?
As a public health social enterprise we have the freedom to innovate in order to progress change quickly.
As an example of this we pioneered a highly successful social prescribing project called Being Well which went on to be commissioned and has recently been renewed for a further year. We utilised a small amount of capital to demonstrate how social prescribing can lead to a 10/1 return on social investment by diverting people away from high cost services.
By developing a strong business model we have been able to increase the impact we make.
As a business we have diversified into other areas which has enabled us to generate a surplus that we have then put into other public health services.
The surpluses generated allowed us to provide three times as many services as we did in the NHS without spending any more public sector funding. It has also enabled us to develop new health initiatives such as our New Roots dementia partnership.
As an organisation we’ve unlocked social investment, but the rate of social investment into health needs to be much quicker.
We’ve been successful in gaining the investment we need to make a difference because we have developed and presented a strong business model.
There’s plenty of social investment funding out there but it is traditionally hard to get your hands on because 90% of all social investment deals involve an asset.
We gained the first ever quasi-loan grant from a social investor because we were able to demonstrate that despite delivering public health initiatives, we are doing this from the perspective of entrepreneurial business leaders. We are in the third sector, but we are also in it for profit because the profits allow us to make more of an impact towards are core aim of inspiring people to live healthier and happier lives.
As public services are squeezed and money is taken away from public health we are storing up problems for the future.
Whether you are delivering healthcare in the public, private or third sector the status quo is not working, it’s time to think about delivery differently, to take control, innovate and really make an impact.