To consider the annual report of the Health and Wellbeing Board.
Madam Mayor invited Councillor Woodley, in her capacity as Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, to introduce its annual report to Council.
Councillor Woodley opened by paying tribute to Councillor Mansell who was described as an active and tenacious member of the Board who had been its Chair from 2014 until 2017. Councillor Mansell’s championing of dementia was specifically noted; this was a subject on which Councillor Mansell had been passionate and committed. Her attendance at every Dementia Alliance meeting was highlighted.
Returning to the subject of the Board itself, Councillor Woodley explained this had been reconstituted in 2017 to focus on reducing health inequality and increasing prevention and integration. Health and social care integration was specifically described as going from strength to such strength that targets were being exceeded. The Council and the local NHS were developing a plan for health and social care which would be published in July 2019. It was noted that an engagement event to support the development of the strategy had been held in November 2019 which had attracted 166 attendees.
Councillor Woodley also noted the focus on mental health service provision and the importance of local planning; a young people’s mental health strategy was in the final stages of development.
Councillor Hopley requested to know what Councillor Woodley considered her greatest achievement in the role of Chair of the Board.
In response, Councillor Woodley acknowledged the work of Councillors Hopley and Bird as members of the Board, their having been instrumental in working toward the Council’s Dementia Friendly status. The Councillor described how since being appointed, she had lead on the review of the Board’s constitution, put in place a workshop on children and young people’s mental health service provision and looked at the mismatch of services and how this might be generating longer waiting lists. The contribution of partners to get this work right was stressed.
In her supplementary question, Councillor Hopley noted how she was looking forward to working with Councillor Woodley on the Board and asked if the voluntary sector would be better represented on the Board. Councillor Hopley stressed that the Board only had one voluntary sector member. She recommended an increase to ensure a more open and transparent view from the voluntary sector was made available to the Board.
In response, Councillor Woodley noted that the Board already had 27 members and expressed her concern that any further increase would start to undermine its effectiveness. She explained that her strategy was to bring in additional contributions as these were needed through the use of evidence gathering sessions. The Board would invite appropriate contributors to attend or engage with the Board for example, through workshops.
Councillor Campbell asked what progress has been made to improve services to support young people’s emotional wellbeing.
Councillor Woodley explained that a workshop on children and adolescent mental health and emotional wellbeing had been held in December 2018. Thanks were given to Councillor Campbell and her daughter for their support, the experience of accessing mental health services by Councillor Campbell’s daughter had informed the workshop. It was noted that there was a shared determination amongst Cabinet Members to end the mismatch between demand for and provision of children and adolescent mental health and emotional wellbeing services. It was noted that schools were continuing to highlight the difficulties they faced in accessing services. Councillor Woodley explained the Board would focus on ensuring services were joined up and were filling the gaps with funding being used effectively.