Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, has been appointed as the new chair for the Stoke-on-Trent Health and Wellbeing Board.

The role is to help to ensure health services provided by a range of organisations are tailored to best meet the needs of Stoke-on-Trent residents.

The role passes to Cllr Brown from Diane Thompson, Chief Executive of the Honeycomb Group who has been chair of the board since 2013 following her decision to step down.

Health and wellbeing boards are a formal committee of the local authority charged with promoting greater integration and partnership between bodies from the NHS, public health and local government. They have a statutory duty, with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), to produce a joint strategic needs assessment and a joint health and wellbeing strategy for their local population.

In most cases, health and wellbeing boards are chaired by a senior local authority elected member. The board must include a representative of each relevant CCG and local Healthwatch, as well as local authority representatives.

Through the board, the city council, NHS, public health, social care, children’s services and representatives from Healthwatch are all working in partnership to address issues of health, wellbeing and health inequalities across the city.

Cllr Brown takes on the role when a key strategy is being publicly consulted on. The joint health and wellbeing strategy outline the board’s vision for improving health and wellbeing, and reducing health inequalities in the city. It commits partners to make Stoke-on-Trent a more vibrant, healthy and caring city through effective leadership and added value.

The board is also responsible for: Undertaking a joint strategic needs assessment of the area’s health needs, Ensuring that commissioning plans and activities of the Clinical Commissioning Group and the city council are consistent with the joint strategic needs’ assessment and the health and wellbeing strategy, Supporting the development of commissioning services jointly with health providers, and integrating service delivery and pooled budgets.

Abi-Brown-Stoke-on-Trent-council-leaderCllr Brown (pictured) said: “This is a pivotal time for the board as we look to a post-covid recovery with transformation underway across the council. We can see first-hand with Covid the imperative of balanced health and wellbeing within the city. It is also a critical time as we look to consult on a new health and wellbeing strategy and undertake transformation work within services such as adult social care, health integration and wellbeing as we continue to work to reduce health inequalities in the city.”

Diane said: “As chair of the health and wellbeing board for the past eight years, it has been a pleasure to work with others who were as committed and dedicated as I am to tackling and improving health inequalities across Stoke-on-Trent and improving health outcomes for local people. It’s been great to see how local health and community partners have come together to take on these issues.”

Cllr Brown continued: “On behalf of all partners, I’d like to thank Diane for her hard work driving forward the health agenda. Diane has been a brilliant chair and my heartfelt thanks go to her for the work that she’s done. It’s great news that she’s staying on the board. My thanks also go to the rest of the board whom I’m looking forward to working with – this includes GPs, health colleagues, representatives from the voluntary sector, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue as well as colleagues from the council.”

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