As part of the national government reforms of the health service, local Primary Care Trusts like NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan – which currently plan and manage the buying of local services such as hospital care, GPs, mental health units and community clinics – are being phased out.
In their place, GPs will be asked to come together in new ‘consortia’ to make sure local health resources are spent in the most effective way.
GPs in the borough are working closely with NHS ALW to ensure a smooth and effective transition to the new arrangements, which are expected to ‘go live’ in April 2013. Although NHS ALW administers the same area as the council, in the reforms the new GP consortia don’t have to match up to these boundaries.
Wigan Council has been working closely with the local NHS for a number of years to deliver the best healthcare locally and effectively integrate health, social care and wellbeing services.
Whatever the final shape of the new GP consortia, the new reforms will see the council developing strong links with GPs at borough level to ensure that the health of residents remains a top priority through a Health & Wellbeing Board. The main objective of the board will be to plan and deliver local services to support the health and wellbeing of residents.
Key council representatives and local GPs are already making the development of the new board a priority.
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This is with the recognition that against a backdrop of dwindling public resources, working together towards a common purpose of putting residents needs first and making a difference to peoples’ health and wellbeing is vital.
Councillor Keith Cunliffe, Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities at Wigan Council and Chair of the new Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Wigan Council is working with local GP leaders to make our existing health services more responsive and to effectively plan future services.
“The launch of our local Health & Wellbeing Board signals our intentions – to focus now and in the future on the reduction of health inequalities through early intervention, and through integrated services for social care and health, and to promote wider wellbeing.
“We want to create and promote choice for health and independence amongst all our residents, putting their needs first.
“As the local authority we influence so many other factors that contribute to health, but we are clear that working with local GPs through the Health & Wellbeing Boards our purpose is better health outcomes for everyone.”