Review of 2012 – Adult Social Care and Health

1st April 2013 will bring in a range of new health arrangements to the NHS in England. In our review of what our councillors have done in 2012, much of that work was in preparation for the changes that lie ahead.

Health Partnership Event

The Committee kicked off this work with an event in April 2012 that brought together all the key players, including GPs from the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, representatives from Public Health, members of the Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board and ourselves (the Adult Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee). This event was very successful in establishing links between the different organisations and understanding all our different responsibilities.

Working With Local Councils

Last year also saw our successful bid to become a “Scrutiny Development Area”, which gives us support from the Centre for Public Scrutiny to develop health partnership working with our District and Borough Councils. This is especially important in the context of “health and wellbeing”, as many of the wellbeing services are delivered by these partners and it is right that we all work together to improve services for everyone in Warwickshire.

Focusing on Patient Priorities

For the first time, in 2012 we joined forces with a host of stakeholders to help the five Warwickshire Trusts draw up their Quality Accounts. As a scrutiny committee, we are expected to “sign off” these Quality Accounts every year, and we are trying to make that exercise meaningful to ensure that the voice and experience of the patient and the public is at the centre of all our hospital, ambulance and mental health services. This new process is a joint initiative with our District and Borough Councils, Warwickshire LINk, Coventry City Council and Coventry LINk – and has proved very successful to date.

A Strategic Perspective

We have been keeping a close eye on the development of the Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board, which takes on its full responsibilities on 1 April 2013, and the Chair has been working hard developing relationships with all of the partners who make up the Board to ensure we have a clear vision of what is happening.

Social Care

The Committee has also continued to scrutinise our Adult Social Care services, which are facing a number of challenges. With an aging population and an increasing demand for services for people with more and more complex needs, including dementia, and at a time when resources are tight, our Adult Social Care services are having to meet these challenges without any risk to our residents. Again, 2013 will bring in more changes with the journey of the Social Care Bill, which will, amongst other things, bring changes to how social care is funded, and will have serious implications for local authorities.

Looking Forward

Central to all of the work we have done in 2012 is the strong relationships that have been built up with our partners. There is now clear understanding by all partners about our role as a scrutiny committee in providing the accountability and transparency the public needs for their services.

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