How we are financed and funded
Ways to Wellness was initially set up to deliver social prescribing service for people with long term conditions in the west of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The contracting and funding structure for this service was unique, as the first in health to use a SIB investment paired with a 100% outcomes-based, seven-year NHS contract. This was achieved thanks to support and funding from a wide range of partners. This is described in more detail below.
Today, our service for people with long term conditions is still helping people across the Newcastle upon Tyne, funded by Newcastle Gateshead CCG. We also work with other funders and partners in order to deliver innovative projects. For example, the SPACE pilot supports children their families, who receive care from the Great North Children’s Hospital. It is delivered in partnership with the Great North Children’s Hospital, and funded by Ways to Wellness and the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation.
We are ambitious to do even more to help people in the North East and North Cumbria in the future. You can read about our vision and values here.
How we were set up
In our development phase we received support from a number of funders. VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East) secured £130,000 of development funding from the Department of Health Social Enterprise Investment Fund. In addition ACEVO (Charity Leaders Network) pledged £15,000 in cash and in-kind support. In January 2014, a further £150,000 of technical assistance funding was secured from the Big Lottery Fund.
This funding was used to develop the Ways to Wellness service model (financial and operational) and to build capacity, including preparing for delivery of the service in the lead up to seeing patients. For example, research was funded to better understand the evidence base related to potential cost savings that the service might be expected to generate.
Newcastle Healthcare Charities also offered monetary support during the delivery phase of the service, for building capacity and to fund peer support in the west of Newcastle.
Ways to Wellness’ contracting and funding structure was unique, as the first in health to use a Social Impact Bond (SIB), paired with a seven-year NHS contract.
Bridges Ventures provided £1.65 million investment, in the form of SIBs to support the establishment of the service. Their investment helped to pay for the cost of the service in the early years of mobilisation and delivery, ahead of the performance measures being achieved and payments being received from the Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group (now part of Newcastle Gateshead CCG).
The CCG agreed to pay for the provision of social prescribing services to their patients if Ways to Wellness demonstrated achievement of performance measures that demonstrated the value to patients and a reduction in the use of NHS resources in supporting those patients.
In recognition of both the innovative nature of Ways to Wellness’ approach, and the wider benefits to society and other public services, the Big Lottery Fund Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund and the Cabinet Office Social Outcomes Fund also agreed to pay up to £2 million and £1million, respectively, in outcome-based funding. As with the CCG, the Big Lottery Fund and Cabinet Office payments were based on Ways to Wellness’ achievement of the agreed performance measures. This additional outcomes support was required to enable Ways to Wellness to build its capacity to support up to 3,000 patients a year, before the expected savings could be proven.
Current position and looking to the future
Ways to Wellness has now fully repaid its social investors. Monitoring of our impact has demonstrated the financial savings Ways to Wellness has achieved for the CCG (and thus the NHS). You can read more about our approach, findings and learning in our report ‘Ways to Wellness: The First Six Years’.
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