Plans unveiled for new joint health organisation

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PROPOSALS have been tabled to create a local Health and Wellbeing Board to ensure the health of Wigan’s residents remains a top priority.

Wigan Council has teamed up with the five Local GP Commissioning Consortia to come up with the idea at a time of significant reform in the National Health Service.

The launch event at the DW Stadium brought together organisations from the health, community and voluntary sectors to share their views on how real improvements in the health of local people can be achieved.

The message was clear that against a backdrop of dwindling public resources, working towards a common purpose of putting residents needs first was vital.

The changes in the NHS mean that by 2013 GPs will be responsible for commissioning local health services. The boards will be created by councils and GPs to ensure best use is made of available resources.

In Wigan these new arrangements will build on the strong existing partnership between the council and the NHS that has already made a difference to peoples’ lives.

But in an area where certain health inequalities persist, the proposals tackle the need to develop new ways of looking at familiar problems, targeting help where it is needed most so people can live healthier, more independent lives.

The launch of the Health and Wellbeing Board in Wigan coincides with the latest announcement from the Department of Health awarding pathfinder status to five GP consortia in the borough.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities and a member of the GM Health Commission, said: “Wigan is working locally and with our partners across Greater Manchester to make existing health services more effective and to influence future commissioning and provision of services. The launch of our local Health and Wellbeing Board signalled our intentions: to focus now and in the future on the reduction of health inequalities through early intervention.

“We have made progress, developing services that have made a difference to people. But we want to create and promote choice for health and independence amongst all our residents, putting their needs first.”

Dr Tim Dalton, chairman of the Clinical Leads Group for the five GP consortia in Wigan, said: “Whatever your role in health service delivery, the shared aim is to bring change benefiting individuals and communities. As chair of the Clinical Leads Group for the five GP consortia in Wigan it is great news that the collective approach of our individual consortium has been recognised by the Department of Health in awarding pathfinder status.”