Creating Healthy Communities with NHS Property Services

NHS Property Services bring property and facilities management expertise to the NHS estate.

At a time of major change and increasing demand for NHS services, they are working to reduce costs, create more fit-for-purpose facilities and generating vital funds to reinvest in order to support improvements in frontline patient care.

In 2017, the new NHS alliance published a briefing paper explaining that there are some proven ways of working with communities which can ‘create health’, by enabling people to build their levels of control, contact and confidence. NHS Property Services have taken on this concept and aim to invest more in ‘Health Creation’ – creating health by tapping into the causes of wellbeing and building a ‘health’ service with a purpose of supporting people to become and stay healthy and well.

This makes NHS Property Services and Groundwork UK a very fitting partnership, as creating better places and bringing communities together to find solutions to the challenges they face is one of our core principles, and what we do best.

Therefore, NHS Property Services will be working with Groundwork UK to transform spaces in local communities which will provide places where ‘health creation’ can take place. From building medicinal gardens provide a clean and tranquil area for people to reconnect with nature, to improving community centres where local communities can gain access to keep-fit or healthy-cooking classes, nature walks or merely somewhere for lonely, vulnerable members of the community can connect.

Building a social model of health, based around places and outcomes for people that put people in control, NHS Property Services employees will begin volunteering on Groundwork UK transformational projects in September 2018, and will continue throughout the year.

Discussing the ideas of ‘Heath Creation’, Graham Duxbury, CEO of Groundwork said:

We know from our experience that, with the right support and encouragement, communities can play an active role in creating healthier neighbourhoods and providing a stronger support network for those who are vulnerable.’

We need to make sure those at risk of ill health or managing long-term conditions have access to good quality parks and green spaces, have the right support to find work and get the help they need to keep their homes warmer in winter.  This will need a new approach to designing and commissioning services with health practitioners working alongside housing and education providers and finding creative ways of unlocking the potential in communities.