Camilla Greenwell © Move Dance Feel CIC

Creative Health in Systems

This section focusses on how you can integrate and embed creative health in Integrated Care Systems.

Here we consider Leadership, Strategy and Governance. Click through for other in Systems sections: Planning and Commissioning; Workforce Development; Digital Technology; Evidence and Impact


With a focus on collaboration, leadership is about facilitation, building relationships, influencing peers, collaborating, and tackling the complexity of cross system issues. With personalisation a principal component of health and care service transformation, there is recognition of the untapped resources within communities.

Leaders from the Voluntary, Community, Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, who until recently sat outside decision making, now have a real opportunity to shape future developments in partnership with leaders from within the NHS and Local Authorities.

This collaboration will bring different perspectives, new ways of thinking and dynamic solutions to combat challenging problems.

Actions to take

Leaders to advocate and model the shift from a reliance on bio-medical approaches to ones that include psycho-social approaches, including Creative Health, for targeted self-management of health and wellbeing.

Identify and support champions for Creative Health at all levels of the system, in places and in neighbourhoods, who can advocate for cultural change.

Facilitate connection between different service agencies both formally and informally so that, as a critical mass, they can seed and grow Creative Health initiatives.

Identify and establish the necessary resources to shape and deliver Creative Health strategy.


With new partnerships forming in the context of Integrated Care Systems and variation of maturity in development of Creative Health throughout those systems there can be a disparity in the Creative Health offer at place and at neighbourhood levels.

Developing a strategy enables delivery by providing an anchor in which the agreed vision between partners sits. The strategy can articulate a clear understanding of local need, what changes are required to support local ambition and how Creative Health aligns with other key strategies and pathways.

Actions to take

Align Creative Health approaches with key strategies and priorities, such as Personalised Care and Health Inequalities, seeking to embed Creative Health within those strategies and their operational plans.

Articulate how Creative Health can support population health priorities and health inclusion through the development of a Creative Health strategy.

Co-produce Creative Health strategy with all partners, including local people and communities so that it can meet the health needs of the local population.


A fundamental challenge in operating within a complex system is in establishing a line of communication to connect the various parts together and ensure there is a flow of information and shared understanding of issues from senior leaders to those leading grass roots delivery.

This includes a shared understanding of the standards of care required for those referred to Creative Health and that those who deliver are supported by governance policies and procedures.

Such mechanisms support high quality Creative Health practice, make lines of accountability clear and provide routes for social prescribers, local community groups and organisations to escalate challenging issues.

Actions to take

Support development of policies and processes for all aspects of Creative Health delivery, including quality assurance, working standards, safeguarding and data management.

Define clear working relationships between the NHS, VCSE sector and Locality Authority, with lines of accountability in place and mechanisms for sharing information.

Illustrative Examples


Example of: Champions facilitating networks

Evoke: Kirklees Creative Health Partnership Network Manager

West Yorkshire


Example of: Strategy development

Suffolk and North East Essex ICS Personalised Care Strategy

Suffolk and North East Essex


Example of:  Provider organisation governance

Noise Solution

Suffolk and North East Essex