Engaging with and influencing Health and Wellbeing Boards

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2012 Health Care Service Group Conference
16 December 2011

Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) are designed to be a forum for local commissioners across the NHS, public health and social care, elected representatives and patient representatives from local Health Watch to discuss how to work together to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of their area. They are intended to provide a forum for challenge, discussion and the involvement of local people.

They will be made up of “at least one” councillor of the local authority, the Director of Adult Services, the Director of Children’s Services, the Director of Public Health, a representative of the local Branch of Health Watch and a representative of each Clinical Commissioning Group from the local area. There is no place for trade union representatives though the local authority may also invite other people or representatives as it sees fit.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be responsible for most of the health commissioning and they have to co-operate with the HWBs. Whilst there has to be this co-operation the HWBs do not have a veto over CCG’s plans.

The decision making in the NHS has always had questions asked about the democratic deficit in that decision making. The increasing devolvement of powers to CCGs and GPs has increased this deficit and HWBs as proposed have some influence but no real powers.

This conference is concerned about the lack of power of HWBs, the democratic deficit in commissioning of Health Services and the lack of input from Trade Unions to ensure that the staff voice is heard.

Therefore this Conference instructs the SGE to:

1)Campaign for a Trade Union seat on HWBs.

2)Support and encourage Regional Health Service Groups and Branches to elect a HWB link person to engage with their local government counterparts with a view to influencing their local HWBs.

3)Work with LAOS to provide Scrutiny and HWB training to representatives in branches to ensure there is sufficient expertise to deal with the issues.