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Surfacing Unmet Need

The project highlights the greatest unmet needs of the people and communities our members support, to inform decisions made by the NHS England and Improvement’s Accelerated Access Collaborative surrounding prioritisation of innovations.

  • Health inequalities
  • Communication and administration
  • Person-centred care

Making innovation work for people

In August 2019, National Voices was asked by NHS England and Improvement to undertake research and engagement to uncover the unmet needs of patients, service users, carers and their families managing long term conditions. The purpose of this work was to help inform decisions made by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) on which innovations to prioritise for roll out across the NHS. 

Our long-held belief is that the priorities and unmet needs of people who use or depend on services should shape how care is designed and delivered, including decision making processes on which innovation is prioritised across the NHS. We ask questions in our report that will help start that conversation. If we can shift the focus of innovators to looking at how people really interact with services, then new solutions could have a real impact on health outcomes. 

Engaging with our members and the people they support

In September 2019, we engaged with our members and the wider health and care charity sector to identify the unmet health and care needs of people across the country who live with long term health conditions, to drive forward research and innovation which may help to provide solutions to address these needs. 

We received 22 responses, many of which were detailed reports from our members. Additionally, we also conducted a number of interviews with member organisations. Upon analysis there were four clear cross cutting themes identified. 

Four overarching themes

Our final report highlights four clear themes affecting those managing a long term condition, and the families and carers of these individuals. They were: 

  • Patients and healthcare providers need better information at first diagnosis and during the early months when coming to terms with a condition 
  • Patients want to be treated as a person, rather than a series of conditions 
  • Patients need practical support with life admin 
  • Families and carers need their own information and support 

Our research also highlighted the vast amount of work health and social care organisations do in developing solutions tailored to the specific needs of the people they support. We believe this report is an opportunity to highlight some of this work to innovators.  

This research also presented an opportunity to start a long-term conversation between the voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and innovators focused on how each can help the other in addressing significant unmet needs.

We are grateful to all who responded to our request for information, both members and non-members.