Community Wellbeing: Reaching Out Together project shortlisted for HSJ award

14 Aug 2023, 12:13 p.m.

A joint NHS community project in Gloucestershire to tackle health inequalities has been shortlisted for a national award.

The “Community Wellbeing: Reaching Out Together” project works with local communities that experience high levels of health inequalities to overcome barriers in accessing health services.

The project is a partnership between Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Community Outreach Team and Gloucestershire Health and Care Trust Complex Care at Home Team, and funded by the Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity.

The team has been shortlisted for the NHS Race Equality Award, one of the Health Service Journal's 2023 awards, because of their work in tackling health inequalities within ethnic communities and in promoting equality and inclusion.

Within the first 12 months, almost 17,000 local people have been engaged by the community outreach team, including health and wellbeing checks, signposting services, providing information in a range of languages, identifying barriers to accessing care and helping to reduce the number of people needed to access emergency services. Nine outreach workers have been funded by the charity through the project, all from ethnic minority backgrounds who speak languages including Gujarati, Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil, Sinhala and Spanish allowing them to communicate and build strong links with the community in and around Gloucestershire.

“We know that too many people experience health inequalities and the gap is not narrowing; this joint working has demonstrated the huge difference we can make when we work in partnership with our communities.”

Deborah Lee, Chief Executive

Deborah Lee, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “One clear example has been our work with the South Asian community, where up to 70% of women do not attend for Cervical Screening. The outreach team are actively involving this community to shape how we can deliver screening services and understand the barriers that prevent them from accessing this important service, which will undoubtedly save lives.”

Sandra Betney, Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am really proud of what the team has achieved together in such a short time. We have great communities and networks in our county, and the relationships built as a result of this project mean we have begun to see lasting impacts. This will ensure we adapt services to what communities need and enable people to access the health care they need.”

Richard Smith, Associate Director, Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity: “As a charity we’re here to support everyone – and this shortlisting is fantastic recognition of this important work through which we are reaching out to improve health outcomes for the community in Gloucestershire.”“Without the support of donors, fundraisers, gifts in wills and organisations, none of our work would be possible, and we’re particularly grateful to NHS Charities Together who have kindly funded this project.”

You can find out more about the work the team has done in our Engagement and Involvement Annual Review, as well the annual Engagement Tracker.

The annual review sets out why engagement and involvement is important to the Trust and how we have worked with local people, community groups and partners over the last year, as well as providing case studies, summary of projects and outlining the priorities for the coming 12 months. Over the last year the Trust has been an active part of 58 groups and community events, reaching over 8,700 people, enabling us to gain valuable insight into how we can improve access to services. Further information is outlined in the Engagement Tracker, which details our monthly activity and also forms part of our reporting to NHS Charities Together.