Health and Wellbeing Boards

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 26th April 2011.

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Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch 2:30 pm, 26th April 2011

What progress he has made on the establishment of local health and wellbeing boards.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

Almost nine out of 10 local authorities have signed up as early implementers to press ahead with the setting up of health and wellbeing boards. Councillors, clinicians and local communities have told us that by working together through those boards, they can and will improve health and care outcomes for local people.

Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch

Does my hon. Friend agree that giving greater public health powers to the health and wellbeing boards will allow more targeted help in our local communities?

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

Absolutely. By bringing public health home to local government we will have the opportunity to ensure that many of the underlying causes of ill health can be tackled more effectively, and that is why we are making the reform in this way. By having a health and wellbeing board that brings together all the interested parties we can also ensure a far more integrated approach.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

Will the hon. Gentleman persuade the Secretary of State to come to Yorkshire and perhaps speak to a small group of people—no more than 60—in a quiet room about what these boards are supposed to do? Who will be on them, how accountable and transparent will they be, and will they have any teeth?

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

My right hon. Friend of course is more than happy to go to all sorts of places to talk to people about the health reforms. However, local government fully supports this particular proposal and sees it as a vital innovation for the involvement of local government in the health service. It will be transparent because it will be part of the local authority and will meet in open.