Charities and social enterprises have a key role to play in improving the physical and mental health and wellbeing of people in the UK. Social investment can help to act as a catalyst for system change and ultimately greater social impact.
The health and social care system in the UK is under severe strain with increasing demand created by an ageing population and more people living with long term conditions, combined with an increase in social isolation.
Health and social care under great financial strain
- NHS Trusts have a deficit of over £1billion
- Local Authorities have suffered funding cuts of more than 40% since 2010 and are no longer able to pay for crucial social care services
The system is facing increasing demand
- 51% more people aged 65 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010
- Over 50% more people with three or more long-term conditions in England by 2018 compared to 2008
- Almost 1 in 4 British adults and 1 in 10 children experience a diagnosable mental health problem at any given time
There is patchy quality of service provision
- Inconsistent and often poor quality of care (in the lowest performing GP practices, only 25% of patients report being able to see their doctor)
- Disjointed services and support to individuals
- Reactive rather than preventative (34% of patients visiting A&E only needed advice)
Charities and social enterprises have a significant role to play in addressing some of these challenges - using innovative models to support the integration of health and social care, taking a person centered approach, and delivering early interventions.
Social investment can help health and social care providers with
- Supporting new models of care to shift spending away from acute services and into preventative services. The UK health system is often focused on responding to acute needs rather than provision of preventative, community based services even when they could potentially deliver better outcomes at a lower cost. Social investment can catalyse a shift in to prevention by providing upfront working capital for delivering outcomes based contracts or taking part in Social Impact Bond (SIBs).
- Enabling health and social care charities to develop new community based accommodation options. The ageing population and the rise in learning disabilities will be accompanied by an increasing need for accommodation for those vulnerable groups. Social investment can enable charities and social enterprises to purchase assets directly or to lease assets, in order to provide a combination of community based and residential care models.
- Developing new models and scaling existing services. Start-up charities and social enterprises with disruptive technology-based models, or established organisations developing new models of care and new products, can take on social investment to hire additional staff for new service delivery. They can also use it to invest in business development to sell existing services into new markets.