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Critical role of social enterprise urgent healthcare providers under campaign spotlight

Business / Sat 20th Jan 2024 at 01:57pm


A CAMPAIGN to highlight the vital role of urgent healthcare social enterprise providers in supporting the NHS through winter pressures and beyond has been launched.

UHUK – the body that represents a partnership of the providers who cover 64% of the UK population – is raising awareness of the under-recognised sector and seeking to influence policies in urgent and emergency care.

These providers of NHS services divert millions of patients away from overstretched ambulances, A&E departments and GPs via services including out of hours and clinical assessment, urgent primary care, NHS 111, virtual wards, palliative care, and A&E triage and treatment.

With a seat at the decision-making table, UHUK CEO Conor Burke believes urgent health providers can play a key role in helping to manage the often-crippling pressure placed on NHS emergency services.

Mr Burke said: “Our providers don’t always get the same recognition as other areas of the health and care system, but they are just as vital to the people who use them and to the NHS as a whole – especially at this time of year as the need for services surges.

“That’s because every year we see and treat millions of patients right around the UK who would otherwise call an ambulance, go to A&E, or visit their GP. This frees up these services for people who need them most and allows for limited resources to be redirected back into other health and care services.

“We work closely with local NHS partners and each other to co-ordinate care for patients around the clock, every day of the year at patients’ homes, in treatment centres and in the community.”

All UHUK member organisations follow social enterprise principles, meaning any surpluses are reinvested into services or communities. The campaign aims to shine a spotlight on their work and the contribution they make to the NHS and local people.

Alongside the digital campaign, UHUK will reach out to key policy and decision makers asking that UHUK and members be consulted more regularly on the future direction of health and care policy.  

“Urgent and integrated healthcare services are vital to addressing wider challenges facing the NHS by ensuring valuable resources are used correctly – getting people the best health outcome and safeguarding services for those with life-threatening emergencies,” Mr Burke said.

“We are leading the national development and local implementation of best practice in urgent and integrated care through our Innovation Programme while we deliver frontline services every day, working with partners to keep people well, independent and at home.

“We want to bring that knowledge and spirit of collaboration to the table, working with policymakers to shape the future of urgent and integrated care in the NHS.”

The campaign video and other material is available at www.uhuk.co.uk/campaign

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