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Working together for a healthier Hampshire - first meeting of new Health & Wellbeing Board

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hampshire's first Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which sets out how NHS, social care and public health services will work together to tackle the county's biggest health and social care problems, has been agreed.

Hampshire's new Health and Wellbeing Board met for the first time in public yesterday and agreed the five year plan. It sets the overall direction for joint working to address local priorities such as obesity, falls and isolation among older people, child poverty, alcoholism and drug dependency and early deaths from avoidable ill health. It plots the actions the Board will take and the results they expect to see.

As part of the major reforms to the NHS, county councils must set up Health and Wellbeing Boards to influence, shape and drive services through a new, collaborative partnership that will better target the limited resources available to support people living in Hampshire to have healthier lives.

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy will shape how resources are allocated and what services will be developed and delivered in future by the partners, who are Hampshire's five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities, the NHS, Healthwatch - the new patients' representative group, the voluntary sector and police.

The Chairman of the Board is Councillor Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Children's Services, and the Vice Chairman is Dr Hugh Freeman, Chairman of the North Hampshire CCG. Cllr Mans said: "It's the Board's job to make sure resources are being invested in the best way possible and where they are needed. That means we've got some major challenges ahead. Some of these issues we will be addressing are those that cannot be tackled by one organisation alone but need better coordination and more joined up use of resources, especially at a time when everyone in the public sector is facing huge budget shortfalls and having to make difficult decisions over which services to prioritise."

Cllr Mans stressed that the strategy could not be delivered by the Board alone. It needed organisations as well as individuals to help support everyone to live healthier and ensure that the right information, treatment, care and support is available to make a difference, he said.

"We all need to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing because people who choose to look after their health are more likely to live healthier and longer lives. What this strategy gives us is a shared commitment to ensure Hampshire residents can make those positive choices."

The challenges facing the Board include one in eight children growing up in poverty in Hampshire, 250,000 people drinking above the recommended level of alcohol, one in four adults who are obese and an estimated 70,000 older people are lonely.

There are four overarching goals within the strategy:

The outcomes the Board wants to see include: children with disabilities supported to achieve their full potential; fewer people dying early from avoidable ill health; adults in need of treatment, care and support having choice, control and timely access to high quality services and a reduction in the significant gap between people with the worst health and those with the best health.

Among the planned actions are the development of an autism strategy for children; reviewing the alcohol and drug strategy to inform commissioning; linking smoking cessation programmes with NHS health checks and agreeing a falls prevention and bone health strategy.

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy was developed through a multi-agency approach with a three month consultation from July to October last year. Information was sent to 700 organisations and more than 1,300 people were involved through 50 workshops, presentations and discussion groups.

The Board also heard a presentation from Healthwatch Hampshire, a new independent organisation that gives people a voice to improve and shape health and social care services.

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