Nurses Take The Lead In Social Enterprise

More than 20 social enterprise pathfinders are set to launch across England after the DoH announced the initiatives that will benefit from £1.4 million of funding. Altogether 26 schemes will be created over the next three years.

The lessons learnt from the pathfinders will be shared across health and social care to assist development of future initiatives. A number of the projects have significant nurse involvement.

Debbie Fielding, chief nurse and director of women and children’s commissioning for South East Essex PCT, is leading one of the projects awarded funding, a social enterprise scheme to develop a healthy living centre in a deprived part of Southend.

The centre, which has received £10,000, will be developed at Temple Sutton Primary School, and will build on the existing children’s centre and extended school by providing primary care services.

It is expected to act as a hub for an integrated children’s services delivery team, including school nurses and health visitors, while adult mental health and community services also look set to be provided.

There are plans to increase physical activity opportunities, provide smoking cessation and diet and nutritional advice, and deliver programmes aimed at improving sexual health, self-esteem and emotional well-being.

‘This is a really exciting opportunity,’ Ms Fielding said. ‘It will allow nurses to deliver responses to healthcare which is designed specifically to meet patient requirements. The integration is going to make life easier from the perspective of prevention.’

She added that families and older people in most need of support would be identified using evidence-based tools and targeted via early interventions through integrated children’s teams and chronic disease management programmes.

‘The expectation is that this will reduce the incidence of more complex interventions and specialist hospital usage down the line,’ she said.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis said the pathfinder initiative would provide learning opportunities for health and social care professionals and ‘simultaneously create greater choice for patients through a wider selection of convenient, innovative and responsive services.’