The clinical commissioning group for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire has announced that it will set aside almost £3.2m worth of contracts for voluntary sector organisations to run community health services.
The CCG said the service provider for the new community health services, which will serve approximately one million people in the region, will be required to subcontract 3 per cent of the £106m annual budget for running the services to the voluntary sector.
The community health services are aimed at relieving pressure on GPs and hospitals and help patients get the support they need close to or at home.
The bidding process for the new services opened on 10 January and they will come into operation in April next year.
About a third of community health care across England is run by social enterprises and public service mutuals, but the £3.2m available is a significantly large amount of dedicated funding for charities, public service mutuals and social enterprises.
The infrastructure charity Voscur, which supports charities and other voluntary organisations in and around Bristol, helped to bring the CCG’s proposals to fruition.
Sandra Meadows, chief executive of Voscur, said: "We believe embedding the involvement of community organisations in this way will mean that people and communities are better supported, that CCG services will be more effective and that the whole system will be improved as a result.
"We’re thrilled that those who need to access services can receive joined-up care delivered in the community, which should also help reduce isolation at a time when people are at their most vulnerable and relieve pressure on GPs and hospitals."
Kate Rush, GP and programme director for the CCG, said: "We want to provide support beyond a local GP or hospital by linking up with wellbeing services nearby.
"This will reduce demand on GPs and hospitals, but also keep people fit and independent and treat problems quickly as they arise."