Friday, 22 March 2013

NIFC and the Health and Wellbeing Board

The Nottingham Inter Faith Council recently hosted a talk by Colin Monckton, Head of Commissioning and Insight at Nottingham City Council.

Colin spent some time describing the Health and Wellbeing Board, which has the responsibility for reducing health inequalities and improving health and wellbeing. The board publishes the “Health and Wellbeing Strategy” (currently in a draft form) and one of the messages that Colin wanted to get across was that the HWB were keen for people to read the strategy, and feedback during the consultation process on whether they thought it was addressing the right issues.

The Draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy has four main priorities :

1) Prevention
Reducing the number of people who are drinking alcohol at harmful levels by 30% by 2020

2) Integration
Improving the experience of health and social care services for older people or those who have long term conditions

3) Early Intervention
Identifying more children with significant behavious problems earlier so that they can receive specific help

4) Priority Families
Effectively engaging with 1,200 targeted families with the aim of seeing improvements in school attendance, levels of ASB, levels of offending and levels of worklessness.

Other Comments
Colin described how the Board was trying to work more efficiently and more effectively, giving the example of how, previously, there were 6 (!) different support mechanisms for carers in the city and that these will be integrated into one single city-wide agency.

Another example given was the case of first-time homeless people. These had previously been housed with long-term homeless people and had often come out of the experience with more issues than when they went in, due to a “transfer” of problems from the long term homeless - so now the Board will commission accomodation which separates the first time homeless and those with low needs from those with complex needs.

A word of warning was sounded by Colin as he pointed out that increases in the need for some kinds of expensive interventions (e.g. taking children into care, which costs some £2k/wk per child) could make a big dent in the budget that the Board had to work to. Other challenges that the city faced included the high level of poverty in the city (65% of children in poverty) and the disproportionately adverse effect changes in local gov funding levels have had on the city

Penultimately, it is worth mentioning that the strategy linked to a number of other initiatives, such as the Vulnerable Adults Plan and the Children and Young Peoples Plan

And lastly, an important point that was mentioned was the existence of Healthwatch, which will be the “ the independent customer champion for the public, locally and nationally, to promote better outcomes in health and in social care”