Ruder Finn are committed to reducing health inequalities through our pro bono work with New NHS Alliance (NNHSA) – a movement of professionals and local people working as equal partners to address and reduce health inequalities.

What is a movement?

A movement is a change or development – and a type of group action. Probably one of the most recent movements to really hit the ground running was the #MeToo campaign. This used celebrities in conjunction with communities to tell a wider story on sexual harassment.

Creating a social movement in health requires commitment and passion from within communities to support, respond and be empowered by their own needs.

I recently attended an NHS Alliance Workshop on building a movement and was inspired by the desire for change in the room; it was clear that we all had shared values and a passion for change.

Putting into practice

A New NHS Alliance focus is Health Creation. Health Creation is a route to wellness. It comes about when local people and professionals work together as equal partners and focus on what matters to people and their communities.

Health Creation requires front-line practitioners to adopt skills that are characterised by the five features of health creating practices: listening and responding, truth-telling, strengths-focus, self-organising and power-shifting.

When these five features are working, it provides the conditions for people to gain Control, make meaningful Contact with others and build Confidence. People need enough of the 3Cs of Health Creation to be well.

New NHS Alliance has already made great headway with empowering communities.  An example of where Health Creation has delivered is for Leeds female street sex workers who were living with hepatitis C.

Working with Basis Yorkshire, a charity providing support to sex workers living in Leeds, New NHS Alliance did some baseline research, with frontline volunteers reaching out to sex workers with a survey around hepatitis C.  The results confirmed that the workers living with hepatitis C were not educated about the disease and were not accessing treatment.

New NHS Alliance held a workshop with key stakeholders in Leeds: Basis Yorkshire, St James’s Hospital, Leeds Sexual Health Clinic, The Hepatitis C Trust and Forward Leeds (drug and alcohol support).

One of the most important outputs from this workshop was that for the first time, all those committed to supporting the sex worker community agreed to work together.  Basis Yorkshire had never met with the clinical team prior to this workshop. Since this workshop, from just one person being cured of hepatitis C, seven have now been treated.

The success factors? Commitment and passion from the Leeds community to help female street sex workers empower their own needs.  And there is still so much more we can do.

To find out more about our work with New NHS Alliance, contact: dboydwaters@ruderfinn.co.uk

This blog was written by Dani Boyd-Waters, Account Director on the Healthcare team at Ruder Finn UK.