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Somerset's Health and Wellbeing Board

Somerset's Health and Wellbeing Board

Health and Wellbeing Boards are new approach to improving people's lives, bringing together the NHS, local authorities and communities, and giving local people more opportunities to get involved and have a bigger say.

Somerset has a Health and Wellbeing Board in 'shadow' form, which includes a public LINk Representative, Diane Jepson. You can find all of the information below, plus minutes and papers from Somerset's Health & Wellbeing Board meetings, on the Somerset County Council website:
>>> Health & Wellbeing Board web pages


What will Health and Wellbeing Boards do?

  • The boards will bring together people who plan and commission (buy) services from health and social care, children services, locally elected councillors and will draw in the views of patients and the public via a new organisation called local Healthwatch.
  • With increasing pressures on public finances, it will be the job of the board to work together to plan services that meet the needs of local people, while achieving best value for money.
  • They will look at the evidence of what works best to help target plans and resources.
  • They will look at people's health and social care needs together, as well as taking into account the bigger picture - things like transport, housing, jobs and leisure - so that services truly help people stay healthy and independent.
  • The Somerset Health & Wellbeing Board is just starting in 'shadow' form. It is working on a draft Health and Wellbeing strategy that will be put out for consultation from April 2012.

Who is the LINk Representative?

Health and Wellbeing Boards will have a public representative through Local HealthWatch. As Local HealthWatch will not be in place until April 2013, Local Involvement Networks (LINks) are putting forward public representatives on boards that are in shadow form.

Diane Jepson

In Somerset our LINk Representative is Diane Jepson.

“October 2011 was the start of Somerset LINk public representation at the first meeting of the Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board. To do this effectively and efficiently I need the people of Somerset stating their collective issues both good and bad directly to the LINk.

The new Health & Wellbeing Board will no doubt be a testing experience in structure, representation and decision making. It will be evolving throughout the next 18 months into what I would hope would be a Board truly representative of what Somerset people deserve: determining services which ensure best practice within resource limitations (of which there will always be) in an open and honest manner.”

A Bit of Background

  • The idea for Health and Wellbeing Boards came from the Health and Social Care Bill, which was presented to Parliament on 19 January 2011.
  • The Bill is part of the Government's vision to modernise the NHS and has been brought about by rising demand for services and treatment costs, a need for improvement and the state of public finances.
  • Some of the key legislative changes include putting clinicians, such as GPs, at the centre of commissioning health services, giving patients a greater voice and strengthening local accountability, for which Health and Wellbeing Boards will have a crucial role and responsibility.
  • All local authorities will have 'shadow' Health & Wellbeing Boards up and running by April 2012 and permanent boards will be in place by April 2013.

Where can I find out more?

You can find all of the above information, plus minutes and papers from Somerset's Health & Wellbeing Board meetings, on the Somerset County Council website:

>>> Health & Wellbeing Board web pages

For more information

For more information about the LINk's Representative on the Somerset shadow Health and Wellbeing Board, contact Lucy at the Somerset LINk office on