Carers and the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Strategy on the Agenda

The Health Social Care & Well Being Overview & Scrutiny Board met yesterday.  The councillors dealt with two main topics – progress against the implementation of the Health Social Care & Well Being Strategy and how the Council supports carers.   

The Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Nick Tregoning and Sharon Miller, Dr Nina Williams and Rosemary Fletcher, from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board were questioned by the Board on a number of key aspects within the Strategy. 

The Board were particularly keen to understand what Swansea’s designation as a Healthy City by the World Health Organisation actually means for Swansea and how it will help to address the health inequalities within Swansea.  The Board wanted to know how outcomes of the projects within the Healthy Cities strand will be measured and how being designated a healthy city has made in difference in other cities in the UK, including Liverpool.  The Board agreed that measuring outcomes was important and asked the Cabinet Member and representatives from the Health Board to come back to the Board in the new year with a report which identifies which outcomes have been chosen and how they have performed.  The Board also asked the Cabinet Member to provide evidence of how being a healthy city has improved health inequalities in Liverpool

The second aspect of the Strategy that were Board were very interested in was the development of the Primary and Community Networks.  These are groupings of GP practices based on 5 localities (identified by the Health Board).  The Board had two main questions for the Cabinet Member and his health colleagues.  Firstly the issue of the Council and the Health Board working to different configurations of localities and how this affected partnership working and service delivery.  The Cabinet Member agreed that it wasn’t the ideal way of working and that even within the Council’s own Social Services department teams such as mental health, child protection and older people all worked to different locality boundaries within Swansea.  The Cabinet Member said that while working to the same locality configurations was a feature of good partnership working, there were other features that were needed and were just as important like good communication and information sharing

Secondly, the Board raised its concern about the equality of service amongst the Primary & Community Networks.  The Board was worried that in some  networksGP practices may not be providing the same level of service and support to patients as GP practices in neighbouring networks.  The Board wanted to know how the Cabinet Member and the Health Board were addressing this.   The Board was told that since the introduction of the Primary & Community Networks the GP practices have contractual agreements with the Health Board which contain agreements and obligations around quality and level of service.  Each  network has been given a health profile and the GPs have been asked to provide services that reflect the needs contained in the health profile.  What the Board also learned was that the new networks have developed peer challenge and support within and between the Primary & Community networks.  This has helped to provide additional training for GPs on things like substance misuse and was an encouraging start to more ways of working like this

The Board will receive a progress report in six months time, but it will ask the Cabinet Member and the Health Board to focus on the progress of the development of the Primary & Community Networks

The second main item of business for the Board was a briefing on support for carers in Swansea.  The Board will start a scrutiny review of the support the Council and its partners provide to carers in Swansea.  The Board will set up a task and finish group for this piece of work and the Chair and Vice-Chair will meet with officers next week to discuss and draft the review scope.  This review will begin as soon as possible and conclude in February

Finally, the Board was really pleased to meet the new Corporate Director of Social Services, Phillip Hodgson.  Both the Board and the Director are looking forward to working together over the coming months.

Swansea  – proud to be a designated member of the World Health Organization Healthy Cities network for Phase V since 2010

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