Health and wellbeing boards and clinical commissoning groups may have to work together for the foreseeable future, so they must reconcile their differing priorities
That local authority councillors and GPs would think differently about the public’s health is no surprise. However, HSJ’s analysis of the relative priorities selected by clinical commissioning groups and health and wellbeing boards is enlightening for two reasons. It illustrates where that difference lies and the work needed to close the gap.
‘The most interesting thing will be to watch how these two bodies reconcile their differences as they are required to work together in allocating shared funding’
The areas of divergence will again surprise few, though it is revealing quite how little emphasis CCGs place on preventing ill health. One of the hopes of CCGs was that GPs’ daily experience of the impact of the determinants of health would mean the NHS paying more attention to prevention.
It could well be that CCGs are developing preventative strategies as part of plans to tackle “long term conditions” and other priorities − but at present their to-do list looks as focused on tackling healthcare demand as any primary care trust.
The strongest area of agreement is, ironically, another Cinderella service. Mental health is the only priority to make HWBs and CCGs’ top fives.
‘If the partners need an incentive to work together, the thought of increased central oversight if progress is slow should be all they need’
However, the most interesting thing will be to watch how these two bodies reconcile their differences as they are required to work together in allocating shared funding. A belief that integrated care will mitigate the need for spending increases, as well as pleasing voters, will make it a priority for this and any forthcoming government.
Should they win power, Labour’s proposed council takeover of commissioning budgets is unlikely to be delivered within the parliamentary term, which means that under any scenario HWBs and CCGs are likely to be bedfellows for the foreseeable future.
It will be fascinating to see how the two bodies relate; what, for example, will cash starved local authorities make of the 20 CCGs underspending their budgets? If the partners need an incentive to work together, the thought of increased central oversight if progress is slow should be all they need.