Health and wellbeing boards achieving their goals

A new report by the Local Government Association has claimed that health and wellbeing boards are achieving their goal to help people lead healthier and happier lives in their communities.

Highlighting how health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) are making a real difference through a wide range of initiatives, 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.

HWBs are improving outcomes in health, care and well-being by uniting clinical, political and community leaders under a shared vision for their communities. This is contributing to reduced hospital admissions, reduced demand for GPs and helping thousands of smokers to quit.

The What a difference a place makes report also shows that 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 does however warn that the Spending Review must address the continuing gap in funding for adult social care, that will reach £3.6 billion by 2025.

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 well-being. 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“However, the adult social care Green Paper remains unpublished, creating uncertainty about how adult social care will be funded going forward.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.”