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CCGs urged to “listen” to communities


3 April 2013

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Commissioners have been urged to “listen” and “engage” with the local population in new guidance on how to work within communities from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). 

Commissioners have been urged to “listen” and “engage” with the local population in new guidance on how to work within communities from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). 

The guide, called Working with Communities, Developing Communities, aims to put forward both a financial and health case for investing in community development. 
According to the report, “local populations must be seen as assets, not burdens”, and RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada believes more engagement with local populations is needed. 
She said: “We need to engage with the people we have been commissioned to serve. 
“The people within the community should have their say in what they think will make their society, their lives, better.” 
‘Rewards’ 
Financial rewards associated include those seen by the Health Empowerment Leverage Project (HELP) in Devon- one of the principle case studies in the report.  
It saw an NHS saving of £558,714 over 3 years and estimated annual wider societal savings across England of £130 million. HELP focuses on building links between local populations and frontline services.
Healthy Communities Collaborative targeted reducing falls in older people and saw a saving of £1.2 million in hospital costs, £2.75 million in residential care costs and £120,000 in ambulance costs over three years.
The report claims that effective community development improves social integration, social networking and sustainable health services. 
Dr David Paynton, National Clinical Lead for the RCGP Centre for Commissioning said: “Community Development promotes simple ideas that produce multi-faceted benefits to everyone involved. 
“CCGs must be strong and deliver sustainable outcomes in order to be successful. To do this we must utilise our communities not fritter away money by outsourcing to contractors and paying inflated and unnecessary prices.”
Working with Communities, Developing Communities is available on the RCGP website
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