Dr Barbara Vann’s 2019 Statement to the Duchy Health Charity Board

Posted on June 18 2019

Dr Barbara Vann’s 2019 Statement to the Duchy Health Charity Board

Very helpfully, a restatement of the Charity’s Purpose and Drivers written for our Patron, HRH Prince Charles, (see below) has covered some of the ground. The report brings trustees up to date. The 2015 leture given by Sir John Tooke has enabled the Duchy Health Charity to reassess its purpose against its Charitable Objectives. As a result these have been reviewed, updated and resubmitted to the Charity Commission.


Put simply, Duchy Health’s strategy is as follows:

Within and across Cornwall

• To support charities to enhance the health and well-being of the population of Cornwall by
the development of strategies to prevent and alleviate illness.
• To use the Board’s skills, influence and facilitation to encourage change across health and
well-being provider, commissioning and stakeholder organisations.
• To act as a catalyst for change, a conduit of knowledge and learning, to enable learning to


Through the targeted use of Duchy Health Charity funds and the acquisition and application of local knowledge, to act as an enabler to the health, social care and the voluntary sector to facilitate the service design, provision and integration to meet the people of Cornwall’s health and social care needs.


Focussing primarily upon the needs of the community as well as individuals, DHC is working in collaboration with all key stakeholders in the statutory and voluntary sector, particularly on the NHS 10-year plan. It is creating opportunities to prevent illness and articulating expectations to support a good quality of life across all age groups.


The success of DHC is measured in the amount of funds granted to support the prevent agenda, to enable social care initiatives and to help relieve some of the impacts of poverty within communities. DHC is not aiming to take the place of national bodies such as the NHS; it will enhance provision for example in the advocacy of social prescribing and in supporting communities in providing solutions to local health and social care issues. DHC acts as a provoker of thought particularly across Cornwall Council stimulating intiatives such as the generic support workers and community co-ordinators which were both DHC ideas taken up subsequently by CC; the Breakfast meetings run by DHC were all focussed upon community and place-based initiatives and as a broker between like-minded Charities.

DHC has continued to provide support to charities in the county in their individual endeavours by providing grants. Wherever possible the aim of the projects funded by DHC embed sustainability and obtaining matched funding.

To illustrate the breadth of grant-giving and therefore influence: grants awarded 2017/18 to be updated for 2018/19:






The DHC has demonstrated successful outcomes in its narrative around instigating and facilitating events to tackle strategic health and social care issues in Cornwall. The example of the Breakfasts focussing onPeople, Place and Purpose (see above) were the start of county-wide conversations about how the county’s system of health and social care should be integrated and organised which is a national imperative. Funding was made available to bring the county’s leaders together to create the space to plan and adopt new ideas in health and social care provision.

In 2019 this important catalyst role has already seen DHC funding events to support the visioning and strategy for children and young people’s services. Two events were planned: Population Health (Duncan Selbie, CEO of Public Health England and Sir Al Aynsley-Green, first Children’s Czar) and an event for GPs on Social Prescribing.

The Population Health conference took place on 13th February and was deemed by those who attended as being successful in its primary aims of raising awareness amongst decision-makers at a local level and in promoting action from communities. A major feature of the day was the engagement of children and young people and opportunities to hear and take notice of their views.

The conference to promote Social Prescribing is to take place later in the year, coupled with a film to helpGPs and practice staff with its introduction. A feature of both conferences is that they will support unique localities to design the health and social care support required to nurture this and future generations.

Of late, further discussions with Public Health England are highlighting the need to build upon what has already been achieved. It’s clear the efforts so far have been successful in prompting NHS organisations and local government to integrate services, design fresh services for care provision, requiring collaboration and predict the needs at a community level. Most importantly, they have helped the community voice to be heard, especially that of children and young people.

DHC often guides the principle of design; our partners see and hear the valuable contribution of DHC and trust DHC’s contribution in the implementation of the ideas. On some occasions it would appear that ideas that have emerged from the discussions across DHC have been ‘captured’ by other organisations. That is an example of the positive influence of DHC.

I’m sure that DHC Trustees will be pleased that we have, once again, prompted others to action but it is frustrating to some degree as we know the funding will come to an end without planning for sustainability. By 2022, therefore, there will be an issue which may not be solved easily.

But never let it be said that DHC are not always looking to see how things can be enriched and enhanced. One aspect of the previous proposals that are yet to be enacted and do not appear to be in any plans at county level is the idea of Health Ambassadors in the communities. Discussed in principle with Public Health England, I would propose that we now think about how and in what ways we further this. From previous experience, I would ask that Trustees look forward to a paper at the next Board meeting for a swift decision. I would hope that a small group of Trustees would take responsibility for writing this.

I would like to thank Trustees for a large amount of work which has been undertaken since the last Board meeting, particularly in regard to the conference in February. The Wash-up meeting notes have been circulated separately but it is clear that DHC ideas are well supported within the community, particularly those relating to Children and Young People.

Dr Barbara Vann DL., Hon. DSc.
Chair Duchy Health Charity
April 2019




Click below to read the previous news.