County Durham Health and Wellbeing Board

County Durham Health and Wellbeing Boar (HWB) provides system leadership, oversight and governance for health, care and wellbeing in the county. This case study forms part of our integrated care system (ICS) resource.

The HWB has a longstanding track record of partnership and integrated working and undertakes development activity to ensure it is operating effectively. The HWB works closely with County Durham health overview and scrutiny committee to deliver a complementary work programme.

The HWB is committed to regularly engaging with local people as a basis for its work. Recent examples include the ‘voice of child’ dialogue between children and young people and senior leaders, and a ‘resilient communities’ event for over 200 people.

A new joint health and wellbeing strategy will inform ‘Vision 2035’, the county’s new local plan, and will align with the director of public health’s annual report. Since 2012, HWB collaboration has supported a reduction of 22,000 smokers; 14.2 per cent of adults in County Durham now smoke compared to the England average of 14.9 per cent and a North East average of 16.2 per cent. The ambition is to achieve 5 per cent by 2025. The HWB has also overseen a health impact assessment on the County Durham Plan, a hot food takeaway policy and collaboration on healthy weight.

Key integration developments overseen by the HWB include:

  • A new community services contract is in place to facilitate joined-up interventions from community nurses, social care and primary care at locality level.
  • The ‘Teams Around Patients’ model is part of the contract and involves focusing on frail, older patients so that proactive and timely care is delivered to support independence.
  • Work to integrate the strategic commissioning function now covers all age groups, including children, and aims to maximise the use of local resources.
  • Fourteen area action partnerships promote health and wellbeing in localities across the county; some have task groups focused on outcomes for children and young people. Partnerships report twice-yearly into the HWB on projects and health outcomes.
  • Work is taking place to connect primary care network/social prescribing link workers, equip them with networking opportunities and a competency framework, avoid duplication, and focus on developing connected pathways for service users.

County Durham is part of the Cumbria and the North East aspiring integrated care system, which is developing four integrated care partnerships (ICPs) for at-scale activity. The ICP across County Durham, South Tyneside and Sunderland is at an early stage of development. To deliver the work of the ICP, County Durham has set up an integrated care board (which provides regular reports to the HWB) to progress integration, including considering the potential for further joint commissioning and pooled budgets. The HWB is also supporting the development of one- and five-year place-based health and care system plans, and work will take place to ensure these align with the joint health and wellbeing strategy.

Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health