Health and wellbeing boards 'should not run NHS commissioning'

Health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) are too often dominated by local councils and should not take over NHS commissioning, CCGs have said.

Dr Amanda Doyle: role of health and wellbeing boards (Photo: UNP)
Dr Amanda Doyle: role of health and wellbeing boards (Photo: UNP)

NHS Clinical Commissioners, which represents CCGs, said HWBs can be dominated by the host council’s agenda or dogged by local political issues.

A briefing paper from NHSCC, A Shared Agenda, based on interviews with CCG leaders, said clinical commissioners believe in the potential of HWBs to bring together the NHS, local government and other key players in the health and care system and find the right solutions for their patients and local populations.

HWBs are still in development and need time and space to grow, the report said - but it noted they should not become commissioning bodies for NHS services.

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NHSCC co-chairwoman and and chief clinical officer of Blackpool CCG Dr Amanda Doyle said: ‘Clinical commissioners are part of the fabric of their local communities. To HWBs we bring a practical, day-to-day health commissioning perspective. As GPs we have considerable knowledge of the communities we service and can also tap into the breadth of patient knowledge from within our own membership.’

Common goal needed

Sheffield CCG chairman Dr Tim Moorhead, a co-chairman of his local HWB, added: ‘It’s about having a common goal – the health and wellbeing of people in this city. On some issues GPs have more credibility and on others councillors have the credibility. If we stand together we have a greater chance of success.’

The paper called for a more even balance between the NHS and local government as a priority for HWBs. 

‘Overall, HWBs need time and space to develop effective relationships, not least with providers and wider stakeholders. They occupy a commanding strategic position to drive integration of services and the development of out-of-hospital care if the right conditions exist for them to flourish.’

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