Voluntary organisations are an integral part of community care, and the available research indicates the value of their social support role. However, surprisingly little is known about the forms and functions of this support, or the links to the formal support provided by the National Health Service (NHS), so hampering quality improvements. Therefore, a small sample of voluntary service organisations in one English county participated in a pilot study. This involved the staff and users of these organisations, and a geographically linked sample of NHS mental health professionals. Interview data indicated that the voluntary sector users and staff held similarly positive views of the appropriately varied forms and functions of the provided social support, and all participants held unusually similar and positive views of their links, although areas for improvement were suggested by both groups (e.g. links to GPs).
Milne, D., McAnaney, A., Pollinger, B., Bateman, K. and Fewster, E. (2004), "Analysis of the forms, functions and facilitation of social support in one English county: a way for professionals to improve the quality of health care", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 294-301. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526860410557543
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