About Live Well UK
Live Well UK Director Tim Roberts gives the lowdown on what Live Well UK is all about.
When and why was Live Well UK created?
I set up Live Well UK in 2008 having worked in the health service – at both local and national level - for eight years. Whilst I was still passionate about health and health promotion, I had become de-energised by the bureaucracy and never-ending organisational changes in the NHS. I had observed the movement towards new ways of commissioning and providing services and saw an opportunity to be part of an exciting new model of delivering healthcare.
How did you get it off the ground?
I was managing a stop smoking service in West London when the local PCT decided to put the service out to tender. I saw this as my opportunity to realise my ambitions – plus I didn’t want to hand over all of my hard work in building up the service to another company. I set up Live Well UK and went through the tender process. I thought I was an outside bet at best but put loads of effort into developing a top quality service model and ended up winning the tender. The PCT were taking a risk awarding the contract to a new start-up but things have gone really well so their risk paid off!
Why health promotion?
When I first worked on tobacco control back in 2005 I found out that 85% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. That is just staggering. A horrible and normally fatal condition and all caused by cigarettes. I believe health promotion should be the first priority in healthcare. So many health conditions are caused by people’s lifestyles and so much pain, discomfort and unhappiness – not to mention spending in the NHS - can be avoided by helping individuals to live their lives in a healthier way.
What is Live Well UK?
I would call it an enterprise with social objectives. We operate as a business which keeps us free from the slow decision making, bureaucracy and form-filling that can impede delivery in the public sector. We get on and do things! We also have the freedom to use financial surpluses for service developments – for example we have just used some surplus cash to invest in a free yoga programme for our West London service users.
In practice, Live Well UK is a team of enthusiastic, passionate people that run health promotion services that have been outsourced by the public sector. We also undertake one off health promotion projects, train and develop organisations (such as GP practices and hospitals) to provide more effective health promotion services and also work on a variety of initiatives with workplaces and community groups. We now have a lot of expertise in the team and can work with a wide range of clients on a wide range of issues, pushing the boundaries in our work wherever we go.
How does the patient benefit if the service is outsourced?
We get to deliver evidence based solutions in a more innovative way. We are more flexible and therefore responsive to needs of both the service user and the commissioner. Being a relatively small enterprise, we have less hierarchy and bureaucracy meaning quicker decision making and more time “delivering”. We also have the freedom to better engage, employ and consult service users. Overall, the client/patient is still getting a free service but one that truly meets their needs that can be delivered quickly and to a high quality.
Find out more by following the links below.