A panel of experts discussed the role played by charities in helping the NHS drive prevention and how collective interventions result in wide ranging improvements to communities

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Prevention, early intervention and stopping the deterioration of long-term conditions are at the heart of the NHS long-term plan, both as a means to improve people’s lives and to reduce the potential pressure on the NHS’s acute services.

But delivering all that is needed in these areas is an enormous ask of the NHS and local authorities, who have responsibility for some prevention programmes. Quite apart from limited resources, the NHS may not be in the right place to offer some of these services and may not have the community contacts which can tailor programmes to different populations and make them effective. 

That’s where many charities feel they have a part to play. As well as having expertise in some fields, they may also interact with people at different points in their lives and in a different way to NHS or local authority provided services – potentially working with those who might not engage with standard NHS services.

An HSJ roundtable, in association with Nuffield Health, brought together those working in the charitable sector, the NHS and local authorities to look at what charities have to offer the NHS – and what barriers stand in the way of greater working between them.


  • Lord Victor Adebowale, chief executive of Turning Point, former non-executive director of NHS England, board member of Nuffield Health and chair of the NHS Confederation (from April 2020)
  • Michael Bainbridge, associate director of primary care, NHS Somerset
  • Stephen Buckley, head of information, Mind
  • Dr Davina Deniszczyc, medical director, primary care, Nuffield Health
  • Mark Doughty, senior consultant, The King’s Fund
  • Shirley Cramer, chief executive, the Royal Society for Public Health
  • Patrick Hanrahan, director of innovation and strategy, Helpforce
  • Lisa McNally, director of public health, Sandwell Council
  • Claire Read, HSJ – chair
  • Neil Tester, director, the Richmond Group of Charities