Kent County Council and Medway Council are coterminous with Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which is developing into an integrated care system (ICS). The system has eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which share an accountable officer and are working to establish a single strategic or system commissioner.
Kent and Medway councils are embedded in the work of the STP and this led them to examine the potential benefits of setting up a joint HWB. After discussion, both HWBs agreed to establish a joint HWB as an advisory joint sub-committee. The councils will maintain individual HWBs to keep a focus on local priorities and to discharge their statutory duties.
The joint HWB agenda concerns the work of the STP and the shared issues across the system that stem from this, in particular:
- a focus on adult social care and health integration (local care) and on prevention
- alignment of joint strategic needs assessments and developing population health
- helping to shape the proposal for a system-wide strategic commissioner
- considering options for the local authorities in the development of the ICSs and integrated care partnerships.
“There is strong agreement across the NHS and the councils that we need to move from transactional arrangements to a partnership based on shared outcomes to improve the health, care and wellbeing of the people of Kent and Medway. As we move towards a system commissioner, an integrated care system (ICS) and integrated care partnerships (ICPs), there will be many changes in how we work together. The joint health and wellbeing board (HWB), with its focus on long-term prevention and developing seamless health and care across the system, will have an important role for the future.”
Glenn Douglas, Chief Executive of Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and Accountable Officer for Kent and Medway clinical commissioning groups
Kent has an integration vanguard – Encompass, a multi-speciality community provider which is based around a federation of approximately 16 GP practices in the Canterbury and Coastal CCG. Encompass has five health and social care hubs – multi-disciplinary teams of GPs, social care, geriatricians, social prescribers, pharmacists, community nurses and health trainers. The local care model involves scaling-up hubs and multi-disciplinary teams across Kent and Medway within two integrated care partnerships.
The joint HWB will oversee such system-wide developments. Overall, its aim is to develop a consensus about cost-effective health and care integration in an open and transparent way. It is also committed to taking joint action to tackle system-wide health challenges and health inequalities. Members of the joint HWB have emphasised the importance of embedding prevention across all the STP work streams.
As part of its work programme, the joint HWB has started to undertake ‘deep dives’ into key issues in prevention to identify opportunities for added value across the system through addressing the wider determinants of health. Areas covered include smoking cessation, reducing obesity, reducing alcohol consumption, physical activity and NHS Health Checks. The HWB is also exploring the possibility of developing a shared joint strategic needs assessment to support population health management, and a joint performance dashboard to monitor progress.
Karen Cook, Policy and Relations Advisor, Kent County Council
James Williams, Director of Public Health, Medway Council
Find out more on the HWB research and learning page.