NHS Next Steps is a step back

NAVCA say that the NHS’s Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, is a step back for the voluntary sector. Published on 31 March, it “reviews the progress made since the launch of the NHS Five Year Forward View in October 2014 and sets out a series of practical and realistic steps for the NHS to deliver a better, more joined-up and more responsive NHS in England.”

The Five Year Forward View was a breakthrough in 2014, recognising the value of the part played by charities and voluntary organisations in improving health and care services. References to social action, volunteering and the voluntary sector were peppered throughout. It made a strong case for investment in charities’ capacity to engage people in their own health and care. In contrast, ‘Next Steps’ contains few mentions of the voluntary sector, the contribution of volunteers goes unrecognised and the role played by charities in helping shape services around the needs of patients and carers is completely missed.

Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;

“In many ways ‘Next Steps’ is a step back. Compared to the Five Year Forward View, it completely under-values the role played by charities and community groups. If the NHS is to reduce demand on hospital beds, A&E and GP surgeries it needs to invest in the preventative and community based services charities offer.”

“Although it says little about charities, the report makes much of person centred and community based care, where the voluntary sector excels. I hope our members will use NAVCA’s analysis to make the case for greater voluntary sector involvement in local health and care systems. People really value local charities’ services, it is vital that they are sustained and grown.”

Read NAVCA's Next Steps analysis