People across the North East are being invited to help determine how health and wellbeing can be improved across the region.
The Commission for Health and Social Care Integration in the North East is looking at how more joined up working and collaboration could help address health inequalities and enable residents to live more healthy and active lives.
The commission was set up by the North East Combined Authority as part of devolution proposals aimed at driving economic growth and bringing jobs and investment to the North East.
The proposed agreement recognises that while there are real strengths in the North East, the area also faces huge challenges. Poor health is a key issue and, despite excellent health and social care provision, outcomes are among the poorest in the country, so there is a need to look at the whole system to address the wider issues that affect people’s health and wellbeing.
Now, individuals and organisations from across the combined authority area – County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland – and neighbouring areas are being invited to submit written evidence, such as reports, letters and presentations, to help inform the commission’s work.
The commission will consider a number of themes looking at:
• Supporting people to stay well and independent – including how efforts and resources can be best used to make the biggest difference to people’s health and wellbeing; how we can reduce reliance on hospital care; and what we need to do to ensure health improvement is a real priority.
• Focusing more on health, wellbeing and productivity – including how we can help people be mentally and physically able to work; and how we can support employers to have health workplaces in order to benefit their staff, improve productivity and contribute towards a stronger economy.
• Exploring opportunities to improve health and wellbeing through devolution – including how this links with the wider devolution agenda on strengthening the regional economy, housing, training and skills; and what financial arrangements are needed to underpin the shift to prevention of ill-health and to more community-based care.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England and chair of the health commission in the North East, said: “We very much hope that organisations and individuals from across the North East with an interest in health and social care will respond to our call for evidence and help us to identify what organisations can do together that is sustainable, affordable and makes the most of the resources, skills and talents that exist in the region.
“This will enable organisations to build on the good health and care services in the North East and the effective partnership working already taking place to tackle the health inequalities that still exist to improve the lives of residents so that they can be as healthy as possible and play an active part in their community and the wider economy.”
Cllr Mick Henry, health and social care lead for the North East Combined Authority, said: “This is a real opportunity for local organisations and people with an interest to inform the work of the commission and to play their part in helping us to improve health and wellbeing, which in turn will have a positive impact on our efforts to improve the economy of the North East.”
Dr David Hambleton, chair of the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group Forum representing NHS clinical commissioning groups, said: “Improvements to the health and wealth of the region can only be done by collective working.
“The call for evidence is an opportunity to bring together ideas to help us understand how we can resolve some of the very significant challenges to ensure that people have the same chances of happy, healthy and prosperous lives, no matter where they live.”
Evidence must be submitted by Friday 22 April and it can be sent:
• By email – firstname.lastname@example.org
• By post – HSC Commission, North East Combined Authority, Quadrant, Cobalt Business Park, The Silverlink North, North Tyneside, NE27 0BY.
From next month (April) members of the commission, working with local colleagues from health and social care, will hold a series of listening events in each local authority area, which will provide an opportunity for organisations and interested parties to discuss their views with commission members.