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Health and Wellbeing Boards

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 26 April 2011

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.