Agenda item

Update on Health and Wellbeing Board

To receive an update on the work of the Health and Wellbeing Board

(20 mins).


Councillor McGhee-Sumner, Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board provided an update on the work of the Health and Wellbeing Board.


During the discussion of this item the following points were made:


·         Members were informed that the Health and Wellbeing Board was likely to undergo a Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Challenge early next year.  It was intended for the review to comprise three Health and Wellbeing Boards:  Wokingham, Reading and West Berkshire.

·         Individual reports and recommendations would be produced for the three Boards and also recommendations for common areas for improvements and possible opportunities for collective working.

·         The review would enable the Board to reflect on and improve the way it worked and made an impact by identifying areas for improvement.

·         Councillor McGhee-Sumner commented that he wanted the Board to be benchmarked against the three best performing Boards in the country.  Councillor Clark asked which were the best Health and Wellbeing Boards.  The Director of Health and Wellbeing indicated that the LGA reviews gave some indication of performance but that  Plymouth and North Lincolnshire Boards had been identified as examples of good practice. Councillor Clark questioned whether less well performing Boards should also be looked at to ensure that the Health and Wellbeing Board avoided pitfalls.

·         Councillor Houldsworth asked Councillor McGhee-Sumner what he felt was the biggest single problem in health and social care and was informed that integration of health and social care was a challenge. In addition some areas such as Hospital @ Home had not had the take up that had been hoped for.

·         The Committee discussed admissions and residential care.  Councillor McGhee-Sumner commented that the Council had a good record of keeping people in their homes when appropriate. 

·         The Committee was informed of the Frail Elderly Pathway which looked to track individuals through the health and social care system. The Director of Health and Wellbeing offered to bring the data sets for the Frail Elderly Pathway to the Committee’s November meeting.

·         Councillor Richards commented that NICE guidelines stated that home care visits should last at least half an hour.  However, sometimes visits did not require that amount of time, for example if the individual simply required help taking medication.  Nicola Strudley emphasised that there were 15 minute med calls for those who needed assistance with their medication but that these were not considered care calls.  The Director of Health and Wellbeing commented that some areas allocated 15 minute visits for intimate tasks such as bathing, potentially leading to issues of dignity in care.  He assured the Committee that it was the Council’s policy not to do this.  The policy took a more personalised approach.

·         Councillor Shepherd-DuBey queried how the Council could be sure that carers’ visits lasted as long as recorded and whether carers were paid for travelling between appointments and was informed that discussions regarding telecare systems were taking place.  Staff were paid for travel.

·         Councillor Haines asked whether language barriers between carers and customers were an issue.  The Director of Health and Wellbeing emphasised that there was a contract standard in place and that he had not received complaints on this matter.

·         Recruiting and retaining front line care workers was an acute problem, particularly in South East England.  Councillor Miall asked how Wokingham was addressing this.  The Director of Health and Wellbeing indicated that Optalis currently met the National Living Wage but as this escalated the situation may become less sustainable.  Councillor McGhee-Sumner added that care home fees had been held for the last 4-5 years but this too was becoming unsustainable as the National Living Wage increased.  Councillor Miall requested that the Committee be kept updated on the matter.


RESOLVED: That Councillor McGhee-Sumner be thanked for his presentation.