A Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board has been established to transform the way health and social care services are commissioned and provided in order to improve the health and wellbeing of the local people of Northumberland and reduce health inequalities. Key to this transformation is ensuring that the views and experience of the public and patients are taken into account in all future decision making.
The board is set up now to bring key partners from across health and care services together in preparation for April 2013 when the new health and care system will be operational.
Cynthia Atkin, health and wellbeing communications and engagement lead, said; “The board is here to help us to do everything in our power to keep people well and healthy and to prevent them needing to go into hospital or depending on care services. We will base our decisions on the services that really make a difference to people’s lives. The vital services patients value will continue as normal during the period of transition.”
The board brings together key leaders from health, adult social care and children’s services through a process called “joint commissioning” whereby the board aim to make it easier to buy better services by doing it collectively.
The Health and Wellbeing Board has conducted research into the most important issues facing Northumberland residents and have identified five key areas for improvements from the views and opinions of local people. Over the next few years the focus will be on:
- Supplying extra help for children and families who would be at risk of poor health or display signs that they are not reaching their full potential without extra support.
- Tackling the main causes of health problems in which there has been either no change or an increase in numbers such as mental health, obesity, alcohol misuse.
- Supporting people with long term conditions e.g. diabetes, dementia and asthma, to have full live choice and control over their lives.
- Help and support disabled people and those with long term health conditions to stay active in their communities.
- Ensure that public services and partners consider all aspects of the health and wellbeing of Northumberland residents when developing services.
Councillor Ian Lindley, executive member for adult care and wellbeing at Northumberland County council said; “It is essential to make sure that all families have easy access to the services and support they need, and that these services are performing to their upmost level.”
The board will meet monthly and will work with partners to engage with local people as well as public services and the private sector to ensure that views and ideas are informing developments.
Listening and understanding the views of residents is extremely important and partners are keen for people to get involved. You can get involved and provide your views by completing a short questionnaire at www.northumberlandlink.org.uk before 28 September 2012.
If you would like to get involved more in the work of the Health and Wellbeing Board or in other health or social care forums and networks, please contact the Northumberland LINK on: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01434 600 599.