New partnership takes the lead on health for St Albans City and District

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News release: 19 September 2011

A new Health and Wellbeing Partnership is being created by St Albans City and District Council to oversee health and wellbeing issues affecting the local community.

St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership

The aim of the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership is to ensure that the promotion and delivery of health and wellbeing services locally reflect the needs of the community.

It is one of the first of its kind in the country and is designed to take advantage of the national health reforms which will see responsibility for health commissioning pass from primary care trusts (PCTs) to new Clinical Commissioning Groups and county/unitary councils in line with the Government’s localism agenda.

The Partnership will act as a forum for local councillors, healthcare bodies, users, carers and other interested groups and help deliver a work programme designed to meet gaps in local need. It will also liaise with the county level Health and Wellbeing Board about where resources are directed and what projects are run in the District. In time, it may have greater responsibility for commissioning health and wellbeing services locally.

The Partnership builds on the Council’s membership of a network of local authorities who are early implementers of Health and Wellbeing Boards.

The Partnership was given the green light at a meeting on 15 September after the Council agreed to change the terms of reference of its Community Health Committee. The Committee will now be brought together with St Albans and District Strategic Partnership’s Healthier Communities and Older People’s Partnership to form the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership.

Councillor Dean Russell, Chair of the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership, said: “I'm excited that the Council has passed a motion to enable this partnership to go ahead. This means that we are able to deliver a commitment to giving a stronger voice regarding the health of our residents and lead the way in making localism in health a reality in this county and across the country.

“The opportunity of the new health reforms is to combine clear democratic accountability with the ability to take forward real delivery. Ultimately, health is by nature a local issue therefore making it a priority for this District Council. With the backdrop of the NHS reforms which require county and unitary councils to take on more responsibilities we need to make sure we are prepared to look after the needs of our residents and to take the lead in directing resources.

“We know that Hertfordshire County Council is keen to explore potential to delegate responsibility to Districts like ours. Against this backdrop of decreased centralised control we need to liaise with County through the Partnership in order to protect the interests of the District.”

Peter Wright, Public Health Partnership Manager at Hertfordshire NHS Trust and Chair of the Healthier Communities and Older People’s Partnership, said: “This exciting new initiative will allow the local community to be heard at the new county-wide Health and Wellbeing Board and ensure that people’s health in St Albans District continues to improve.”

Member contact:
Councillor Dean Russell
Chair of the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership
Mob tel: 07801 750720

Contact for the press:
Amanda Wilkinson, Communication Officer
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317
E-mail: amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk
www.stalbans.gov.uk

Notes:

1. Members of the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership will include:

District members:
• Eight St Albans City and District Council members

Co-opted members:
Representatives of the County and Town Parish Councils:
• County Portfolio Holder for Health or other nominee from Hertfordshire  County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board
• Association of Town and Parish Councils representative

Partners and stakeholders:
• CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) representative (St Albans and District Local Management Group)
• West Herts Hospital Trust representative
• Herts Partnership NHS Foundation Trust representative
• NHS Hertfordshire representative (Public Health Partnership Manager)
• St Albans and Harpenden Patient Group/Local Health Watch representative
• Voluntary Sector representative (Chief Executive, St Albans CVS)

Relevant officers in attendance:
• St Albans City and District Council (Policy and Communications Manager)
• Hertfordshire County Council (Area Manager, Health and Community Services)

2. The St Albans and District Strategic Partnership is a group of key local public, business and voluntary/community sector organisations working together to improve the quality of life for everyone in the District. More information about the Healthier Communities and Older People’s Partnership is available online.

Its projects have included:

Medium and Severe Learning Disability Fundays (MLD SLD Fundays): five one-day fun events featuring sport and non-sport activities and events for disabled young people.

Drama for Older People: a local theatre group working with older people to devise an original piece of theatre, based on their experiences. The aim was to develop participants’ new skills and to build their confidence.

Healthier Redbourn: replacement of equipment for a health and fitness gym, providing health facilities for local residents. The aim is to increase the physical and mental wellness of the participants and to breathe new life into the centre and the community.

3. Among the Government’s early proposals as part of the changing health agenda is the formation of Health and Wellbeing Boards in upper-tier authorities from April 2013 with shadow Boards running from April 2012 (subject to parliamentary approval). All councils were invited by the Department of Health to become early implementers of Health and Wellbeing Boards. St Albans City and District Council applied to join the early implementers’ network and were accepted, along with Hertfordshire County Council. Early implementers are expected to develop shadow Health and Wellbeing Boards in 2011/12.

4. Primary Care Trusts are part of the NHS and are responsible for commissioning primary, community and secondary care from providers. Primary Care Trusts are scheduled to be phased out from April 2013 as part of the NHS reforms.