Skip to main content

The Voluntary and Community Sector in Health

Implications of the proposed NHS reforms

The government’s health and social care White Paper and subsequent Health and Social Care Bill (House of Commons Bill 2010–11) set out clear aspirations for the voluntary and community sector as a provider of health services, a source of support for commissioning, and a partner in tackling health inequalities. However, the proposed reforms present a number of challenges and risks.

The sector already operates extensively within health and social care, with the statutory sector spending around £3.39 billion per year on health services provided by voluntary and community organisations. Many organisations engaged in health straddle health and social care and see themselves as vehicles for integration and co-ordination of care across boundaries. In addition to integration, many organisations see their key function as tackling health inequalities through facilitating greater access to services for people with complex needs.