Health and Wellbeing Boards: a digested read…

I keep being asked about Health and Wellbeing Boards, and what they are for exactly, so I’ve written a one-page Health and Wellbeing Board Briefing Paper summarising the basics.

Lots of people seem to think that Health and Wellbeing Boards are high-powered people (ok, that bit is about right…) sitting around a big bag of cash and pondering whether it should be spent on local charities, pot-holes or a nice yachting holiday. The reality is not quite as exciting, what with the bags of cash being somewhat depleted with the current economic situation etc etc…

Anyway, I thought this briefing paper might be useful for other people to hand out too, so here it is:

Health and Wellbeing Board Briefing Paper

Health and Wellbeing Board Briefing Paper

All about… Health and Wellbeing Boards

Health and Wellbeing Boards are a new idea, to bring together local commissioners to work together to jointly plan more efficient and effective services for local people.

Health and Wellbeing Boards bring together commissioners – who plan and buy local health, social care and children’s services – from the NHS, Public Health and Social Care, as well as local councillors and a patient representative (from LINk/Local Healthwatch).

What will Health & Wellbeing Boards do?

  • Challenges: The big pressures on public services include rising demand, rising health treatment costs – and the state of public finances.
  • Planning services: With increasing pressures on public finances, it will be the job of the board to work together to plan services that meet the needs of local people, while achieving best value for money.
  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessments: They will look at the evidence of what works best to help target plans and resources. They will be responsible for making sure that the local Joint Strategy Needs Assessment is written and that plans for services are based on this (the JSNA is a piece of research that every local authority has to undertake, which ‘tells the story’ of local people’s needs).
  • Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy: They will be responsible for developing a local ‘Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy’, based on their JSNA. The Board will need to make sure that local services are in line with this Strategy.
  • Look at the big picture: The Board will look at people’s health and social care needs together, as well as taking into account the bigger picture – things like transport, housing, jobs and leisure – so that services help people stay healthy and independent.

A bit of background:

  • The idea for Health and Wellbeing Boards came from the Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently going through parliament. The Bill is part of the Government’s plans to change health and social care services and the way they are commissioned.
  • Some of the Bill’s key plans include giving clinicians, such as GPs, responsibility for commissioning health services, and strengthening ‘local accountability’ – for which Health and Wellbeing Boards will have a crucial role and responsibility.
  • All local authorities will have ‘shadow’ Health & Wellbeing Boards up and running by April 2012 and permanent boards will be in place by April 2013.

>> Download the Health and Wellbeing Board Briefing Paper in Word
>> Download the Health and Wellbeing Board Briefing paper in pdf

What to do with this information?

  • Carry this briefing paper around with you to helpfully hand out to members of the public who want to know all about Health and Wellbeing Boards. Or to third sector people who are convinced that the Board is sitting around a big pot of cash…
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One Comment on “Health and Wellbeing Boards: a digested read…”

  1. Nigel Engert says:

    The big challenge for the CCG and Foundation Trusts in Somerset will be the parlous state of the County Council’s finances and thus its ability to fulfill its social care duties to children and adults, whatever the Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy says. This acute problem, plus the need for the NHS to save £20 billion nationally (what is Somerset’s share of this additional cut?) and the considerable increase in the numbers of vulnerable elderly in the County makes it hard to be anything other than pessimistic about the future of both health and social care services.


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