The Department of Health has outlined its plans for the duties of health and wellbeing boards, which are intended to pull together health and social care services in the new NHS landscape.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will have a statutory duty to take account of these boards.
The draft guidance, which has now been put out to consultation until September 28, lays out responsibilities that should underpin local commissioning, and create a key link between the NHS and local authorities, with the aim of providing joined up care.
The boards will comprise representatives from CCGs and local authorities, as well as patients, public health practitioners, and local children’s and adult social care leaders.
From April next year, health and wellbeing boards will be responsible for Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs), which assess current and future health and social care needs across the whole community, including those of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
The boards will also be responsible for devising a suite of agreed priorities to meet these needs in Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs), which will feed into commissioning plans.
CCGs will have a statutory duty to take account of both JSNAs and JHWSs, under the terms of the Health and Social Care Act. How they intend to factor them in to their commissioning plans will be a vital part of their authorisation process.
Final guidance will be available later this year.