Health and wellbeing boards are achieving their goal to help people lead healthier and happier lives in their communities, a new report published yesterday shows.
The report by the Local Government Association (LGA), highlights how health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) are making a real difference through a wide range of initiatives, including reducing hospital admissions and time spent in hospital, reducing demand for GP appointments, helping thousands of smokers to quit, imposing restrictions on fast food outlets near schools, and reducing unemployment, poverty and poor housing.
HWBs are improving outcomes in health, care and wellbeing by uniting clinical, political and community leaders under a shared vision for their communities, according to the publication, “What a difference a place makes: The growing impact of health and wellbeing boards”.
The report emphasises that collaboration between local government, the NHS, and the community and voluntary sector is crucial to make genuine progress in improving the health and wellbeing of local communities. It says that without the full and equal involvement of councils, plans for NHS reform will fail to realise their potential.
The report, based on 22 effective HWBs across the country, shows the boards are driving health and social care integration and making sure that prevention is at the heart of this - helping to keep people well in the first place, rather than managing ill health better.
It highlights that despite growing demand and constrained resources, the resilient nature of HWBs is improving health and wellbeing outcomes for communities, through better place-based, person-centred services and more effective use of public resources through the increasing use of joint commissioning, pooled budgets, “the place pound” and joint delivery arrangements.
The report also warns that the continuing gap in funding for adult social care, that will reach £3.6 billion by 2025, and for public health is undermining the potential of HWBs, which needs to be addressed in the Spending Review.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“This report demonstrates how many health and wellbeing boards are working flexibly and proactively to improve outcomes in people’s health, care and wellbeing.
“It is testament to their work that the messages in this report are positive, despite unprecedented demand for health and care services, and year-on year cuts to councils’ budgets.
“The expected prevention Green Paper will hopefully provide the impetus for all partners to put a greater focus on improving health and wellbeing outcomes and reducing health inequalities.
“However, the adult social care Green Paper remains unpublished, creating uncertainty about how adult social care will be funded going forward. If health and wellbeing boards are to maximise their potential to improve people’s lives in their local communities, the continuing gap in funding for adult social care and for public health needs to be addressed in the forthcoming Spending Review.”
Notes to editors
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information
- The full report, “What a difference a place makes: The growing impact of health and wellbeing boards”, is available on request or available here.
- Health and wellbeing boards were established in councils with adult social care responsibilities in 2013. HWBs are responsible for encouraging integrated working between health and social care commissioners, including partnership arrangements such as pooled budgets, lead commissioning and integrated provision. Their purpose is to establish collaborative decision making, planning and commissioning across councils and the NHS, informed by the views of patients, people who use services and other partners.
- There are 153 HWBs across the country.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.
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