A message from NHS Charities Together’s CEO, Ellie Orton

We are learning a lot about our society during the pandemic and one of the most important lessons is just how important cooperation is in response to a massive threat like coronavirus.

It’s not a new lesson for NHS charities but it has driven home just why our members and the NHS does so much of their work in partnership with others, particularly other voluntary organisations and charities.

We know healthcare doesn’t begin and end in hospital, which is why working in partnership to deliver support in the community is one of the three central planks of our funding approach to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients affected by the Covid crisis.

The virus is having a profound impact on every aspect of our communities, which is why NHS charities are widening the scope of the support they are providing, to help nourish vital regional partnerships outside hospitals, such as in hospices, community healthcare and social care, making sure patients have access to the care and support they need for recovery and wellness.  

NHS charities have always worked closely with other charities to provide support to NHS staff, volunteers and patients. A significant slice of the funding from this appeal is going towards helping the vital care partnerships outside hospitals, such as voluntary sector, community healthcare and social care, making sure patients impacted by Covid have access to the care required to help them, and that NHS staff and volunteers have support in dealing with the impact of the crisis on them. A lot of that support is delivered by other charities as part of the community of organisations who support both the NHS and social care. 

We are also working with our members and key stakeholders  to identify where additional support is most urgently needed by NHS staff, volunteers and patients in their area, with a particular focus on support for people who are disproportionately affected by the Covid crisis, such as patients and staff from the BAME communities and high-risk groups like those living with disabilities, deprivation or social isolation. Again, through our members working together regionally, we are looking for partners in the voluntary sector who can help us reach and support those communities and groups.

We can achieve so much more by partnering with expert charities and voluntary organisations than we would if we went it alone. We have seen that time and time again, such as the impact of the partnership with Redthread to stop the cycle of youth violence.

In 2017, over 300 out of 400 young people aged 11-25 attending St Mary’s Hospital A&E in London had been stabbed. Expert A&E medics are fully equipped to treat these patients medically,  but the young people re-enter a dangerous circle of violence and find themselves at risk of returning to hospital. Meanwhile, staff feel exasperated and demoralised when the same faces arrive in A&E time and again.

Imperial Health Charity funded a 3 year pilot with the Redthread youth violence intervention programme to address the issue. Working with Redthread, Imperial Health Charity funded specialist youth workers that have been embedded within A&E at St Mary’s. Here, they meet young victims of violence and aim to build bonds of trust at this critical moment in their care. The youth workers are well-placed to create safety plans and continue to support within the community, with this support structure young people are less likely to return to unsafe environments after leaving hospital.

The voluntary sector has been hit hard by the Covid crisis and many amazing charities are struggling to keep their heads above water. NHS charities are in the incredibly fortunate position of attracting a significant amount of donations to support the NHS. We are focused on making sure that money is effective as possible and we know one of the best ways to do that is to work in partnership with health, community and social care so it can be used by some of those amazing charities to do what they do best and make a difference.