30/06/2011

£1m Boost For Health And Wellbeing Boards

Plans to better shape local services around the needs of communities have been given a boost as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today unveiled funds of almost £1 million to support the development of Health and Wellbeing Boards.

Speaking at the Local Government Association Conference, he outlined the critical role the Boards will play in bringing together councillors, clinical commissioning groups and local communities to ensure patients and the public experience more joined-up health and care services in the future.

The Boards will be a part of Local Authorities and are a key part of broader plans to modernise the NHS to keep up with the increasing demand on services, an ageing population and rising costs of new drugs and treatments and ensuring high quality, efficient services for patients.

Across the country, local councils and their NHS partners are already working together to set up the Boards which will help give communities a greater say in the services needed to provide care for local people and tackle the wider influencers of health such as transport, housing and leisure services.

The announcement follows this week’s publication of the latest annual profiles from the Public Health Observatories of England on local health, revealing the stark difference between the health needs of communities. ‘Health Profiles’ show, for example, that Westminster has the widest within area life expectancy inequality gap for men at just under 17 years. So a man living in the Westminster area can conceivably expect to live almost two decades longer than his friend who lives nearby. Health and Wellbeing Boards will help ensure that local communities can have access to the services they need.

The funds will be used to:
  • Create a learning programme to develop solutions on key challenges around joint working between local government and the NHS
  • Develop an interactive online forum, tools and events to show-case and share this learning
  • Support councillors working on Health and Wellbeing Boards
Speaking at the LGA Conference in Birmingham, Andrew Lansley said: “Local authorities have an in-depth understanding of the public health and care needs of their populations, but too often they haven't had the right systems in place to work with the local NHS to get the best health and wellbeing for their people.

“The reality is the NHS must modernise in order to keep up with the increasing demand on services, an ageing population and rising costs of new drugs and treatments.

“That is why we are making £1 million available to support the development of Health and Wellbeing Boards as part of Local Authorities. I want to ensure they are able to effectively support communities in getting access to the services that they need.”

(BMcN/GK)


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