Health and wellbeing
Earlier this year, the Government’s health reform programme was passed by Parliament, ending months of public debate.
What does this mean for the County Council?
While the reforms mean big changes for the NHS, they also bring a number of important new responsibilities for local councils. This includes the transfer of public health from the NHS to the County Council, giving us direct responsibility for buying many public health services on behalf of Hampshire residents, as well as ensuring plans are in place to deal with health protection incidents, outbreaks and emergencies.
In Hampshire, the County Council is also responsible for setting up a new Health and Wellbeing Board by April 2013, whose job it will be to promote the health and wellbeing of those who live and work in, or visit, Hampshire. The Board has been operating in ‘shadow’ form since July this year and brings together leaders from the County Council, NHS (including lead GPs from the new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Hampshire), Hampshire Local Involvement Network, District and Borough Councils and Public Health to develop a shared understanding of the needs and what’s important to local people.
One of the first tasks of the Board has been to draft a joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy with a set of proposed priorities explaining how healthcare, health improvement and social care services will be delivered to improve the health and wellbeing of the county’s 1.28 million residents. The strategy outlines four priority areas:
Starting well – supporting every child in Hampshire to thrive and achieve their full potential.
Healthy choices – creating the right conditions so that everyone has the opportunity to make informed choices about their own health and wellbeing.
Living and ageing well – empowering people to live well with a disability and enabling all adults and older people to be healthier for longer and able to live full lives.
Healthy communities – developing resilient communities to address differences in health outcomes and improve quality of life for everyone.
A public consultation is currently taking place asking for views on the draft strategy and priority areas of work. For further information and to take part, visit the Health and Wellbeing consultation. The closing date for sending us your views is Friday, 5 October 2012. If you would like a paper copy of the consultation questionnaire, please call 01962 847711.
The feedback gained will help inform the final recommendations, which will be considered and agreed by the Health and Wellbeing Shadow Board in November.
From April 2013, the Board will become a committee of the County Council and will meet in public.
Find out more information on the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Council’s public health responsibilities, and Hampshire CCGs.
The NHS reforms are designed to deliver a local and more personal Health system, with much closer co-operation between Health and social care so that care is consistent and more joined up.
Involving local people
The reforms include proposals to help people have a greater say in how health and social care services are designed. This will be done through the establishment of Local Healthwatch.Currently, the Local Involvement Network, or Hampshire LINk, works to improve local services by involving individuals and community groups. By April 2013 the LINk will become the Local Healthwatch. Anyone can get involved and there are clear benefits in doing so. These include: getting attention for issues and ideas, influencing those who make decisions about new or existing services, helping the community speak with a stronger local voice and helping services provide better care.
If you would like more information on how to get involved, please contact the Hampshire LINk or call 01489 611 675
Local Healthwatch will be funded by, and accountable to, the County Council and we will be responsible for ensuring that it is working effectively. A member of Local Healthwatch will also sit on the Health and Wellbeing Board.