Calls for more say on new boards

COUNCILLORS say it is vital that elected members are heavily involved in plans for new health and wellbeing boards.

Responsibility for public health and health services is being transferred from Primary Care Trusts to local authorities and part of that is to create these new statutory boards.

The aim is to bring together the NHS, local authorities and health watchdogs.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chair of the health forum, said the councillors were waiting for more clarification on the exact plans from Government.

But he added: “I hope that we can have more involvement from elected members in the future.

“It is important that this new board has some teeth.”

Independent councillor Geoff Lilley said he hoped those responsible for providing health services would take notice of the board.

Labour councillor Chris Simmons said it is important that elected members were involved in the decision making process.

He added: “Anything else would be unacceptable.”

Conservative councillor Ray Wells said health scrutiny forum members should be involved.

Hartlepool’s health and wellbeing board needs to be in place by April 2013.

The cabinet committee is set to meet on Monday, August 15, to discuss plans to set up a shadow health and wellbeing board in the meantime.

Further details will be discussed at the meeting, which will be held at the civic centre, at 9.15am.

Meanwhile, forum members have also called for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to make a presentation about the future of hospital services at both the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, at the next meeting in early September.

It was also agreed to circulate the minutes of an A&E steering group set up to oversee the changes being carried out in Hartlepool.