West Sussex ‘health board’ - a year early

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WEST Sussex will have a new Health and Wellbeing Board a year earlier than expected.

West Sussex County Council has been working with local partners on proposals in recent months and has now announced the formal establishment of a Board which will meet for the first time in May.

The Boards form part of the Government’s reforms of the NHS and have to be in place everywhere by April 2012.

West Sussex has a strong history of partnership working between the County Council and health organisations, and is setting up a shadow Board a year early.

County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith explained: “We are well placed in West Sussex to meet the proposed health changes and are working closely with our partners.

“Health and wellbeing is a priority for the County Council, and we are at the forefront of local authorities, leading the way on public health. As such, we have been selected as an ‘early implementer’ by the Department of Health.”

Over the next year the shadow Board will help shape the future of the health service in West Sussex as the changes are rolled out nationally, and will help influence key decisions about the future of health provision.

Following the shadow year, the work of the Board will be reviewed and then formally established in April 2012.

Early roles for the Board will include giving feedback on NHS West Sussex’s Operating Plan for 2011/12, reviewing plans for jointly commissioned services (mental health, learning disability, drugs and alcohol, children’s services and continuing care) and looking at priorities for West Sussex, and a review of the plans for the £8.9 million of social care funding which has been allocated to NHS West Sussex as part of the Government spending review.

Members of the Board will include representatives from the County Council, District and Borough Councils, voluntary sector, the new GP consortia and health officials.