Health and Wellbeing Board Update
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
The report was introduced by County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Leader of the County Council, and was presented by Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health. It provided an update on the progress made by the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWBB).
Sakthi used a PowerPoint presentation which briefly explained the role of the HWBB; it referred to a review of the Board which had been undertaken in April 2015, and set out some recent developments and future priorities.
He emphasised that the Board was working in an environment in which resources were diminishing and demand was rising, which could lead to a serious gap in funding.
Members were invited to comment and raise questions and a summary of the main points arising from the discussion is set out below:
· There was concern about proposals related to the transformation of care for people with learning disabilities and in particular transport provision for disabled adults and the consequent effect on carers. It was recognised that the proposals were well-intentioned but it was felt that they were not practical. In response CC Mein explained that some very difficult decisions would have to be taken in light of the financial pressures facing the county council. She assured the Committee that all budget proposals to be considered had an associated equality impact assessment; no decisions would be taken lightly and mitigation would be put in place wherever possible.
· The Chair pointed out that this Committee was to receive a report on services for adults with learning disabilities at its January meeting.
· The Chair noted that services for people with mental health problems were under strain and expressed concern about the cost and appropriateness of moving people to facilities many miles away from their home; he asked that this Committee be involved in any review of these services. Sakthi emphasised that mental health and emotional wellbeing were a priority for the HWBB.
· It was explained that it was the role of the HWBB to ensure that appropriate plans were in place to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Lancashire and that reports to the HWBB were part of the assurance process. Agenda and minutes could be read on line and members of the public were able to attend meetings to observe. Members were advised that if they required more detail on a particular topic they would be directed to the most appropriate officer/partner.
· In response to a specific question about Occupational Therapy and what service users could expect in the current financial climate, the Chair reported that the Steering Group was hoping to receive a presentation about this service; he added that any member with a particular interest in any matter coming before the Steering Group could ask to attend the relevant meeting.
· It was explained that 'Healthier Lancashire' was a programme currently being scoped and would be considered by the HWBB; significant changes would be needed to meet rising demand and solutions were not yet designed. There would need to be substantial engagement and Scrutiny would be part of that process. The Committee was informed that 'Healthier Lancashire' was undertaking an alignment of some 53 different plans that needed to be brought together to produce a strategy to achieve better spending for the good of the people of Lancashire. It was reported that there was to be a bite size briefing for members about 'Healthier Lancashire' on 2 December.
· It was suggested that the HWBB should raise its profile as a leadership body. In response it was explained that the HWBB had its own website, logo and newsletter, and the Leader of the Council was its Chair which also reflected how important its work is. It was acknowledged that to some extent it was media responses that determined how much publicity the Board received. It was noted that there were some district councillors among the HWBB membership which provided a helpful conduit to the districts.
· Sakthi said that notwithstanding financial pressures going forward there would need to be a different approach to the public health agenda and how services are delivered.
i. The content of the report, the areas of progress and the future focus of the Health and Wellbeing Board be noted;
ii. It be agreed that the Health Scrutiny Committee develop better working and links with the Health and Wellbeing Board.
iii. The Committee would consider the areas for future focus of the Health and Wellbeing Board and how this aligns with its future work programme.
Date of decision: 24/11/2015
Decided at meeting: 24/11/2015 - Health Scrutiny Committee