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Place-based health: a position paper

STUDDERT Jessica, STOPFORTH Sarah

This position paper sets out some of the challenges in achieving a fundamental structural shift in the health system, citing new evidence from health and local government professionals. The paper sets out the potential of reimagining health as place-based, taking an asset-based approach and focusing on shaping demands in the longer term and ultimately producing better health and wellbeing outcomes. Underpinning this approach is the recognition of the wider determinants of health, where fewer health outcomes result from clinical treatment and the majority are determined by wider factors such as lifestyle choices, the physical environment and family and social networks. Place-based health would mean reconceptualising ‘health’ from something that happens primarily within institutions, to involve all local assets and stakeholders in a shift towards something that all parts of the community, and individuals themselves, recognise and feel part of. This would mean the individual would move from being a recipient of interventions from separate institutions to being at the heart of place-based health. The paper intends to lay out the challenge for the Place-Based Health Commission, which will report in March 2016 and recommend practical steps for professionals in health and care to overcome organisational barriers – real and perceived – and make a fundamental shift towards an integrated system that puts people at the heart of it.

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