“This white paper provides a promising base on which to build stronger working relationships between local government and the NHS, as equal partners, to address the wider determinants of health and deliver better and more coordinated health and care services"
Responding to the publication of the Government’s Health and Care white paper, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“This white paper provides a promising base on which to build stronger working relationships between local government and the NHS, as equal partners, to address the wider determinants of health and deliver better and more coordinated health and care services. We will be working with councils, the Government and NHS England to better understand the full implications of these wide-ranging proposals.
“It is good there is renewed focus and commitment on existing local partnerships and accountability. We support placing Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) on a statutory footing and the addition of a truly joint Health and Care Partnership in every system alongside statutory NHS bodies. We will continue working with government to ensure clarity on their respective roles and responsibilities. Making decisions as close to the people they affect needs to be hardwired into the way we work together.
“We understand the desire for greater transparency in social care, but councils need to be an equal partner in the design of any national oversight. This must build on existing sector led improvement work, recognise local democratic accountability and give a voice to people who use and work in social care. It is helpful the white paper recognises the pressures facing social care and makes clear the Government remains committed to reform, but action is needed and proposals must be brought forward as a matter of urgency. These proposals do not address the need to put social care on a sustainable, long-term footing, nor the wider changes needed to ensure care and support can best enable people to live the lives they want to lead.
“Public health services run by councils have more than proven their worth through the pandemic, as part of the tremendous local response. Any centralisation of public health powers would be of clear concern and we hope that further government proposals to be brought forward will build on these strong local foundations.
“We also urge government to recognise and build on existing local democratic mechanisms, such as Health and Wellbeing Boards and health overview and scrutiny arrangements. We will be concerned if the powers of local Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees are undermined by giving greater powers to the Secretary of State.”