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From HSJ: No roles for PCT staff on health and wellbeing boards

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Former primary care trust and strategic health authority staff should not expect to find jobs with the new health and wellbeing boards, the Department of Health has warned.

In its white paper consultation response Liberating the NHS: Legislative framework and next steps, published on Wednesday, the government confirmed upper-tier local authorities will be required to set up statutory health and wellbeing boards made up of at least one elected representative, the director of children’s services, director of public health and local health watch.

Commissioning consortia will also be required to send a representative, although if there are a number of consortia in an area they will be able to nominate a “lead consortium” to attend on their behalf.

Health and wellbeing boards may also choose to invite participation from relevant professionals, community groups and the voluntary sector.

Under legislation to be introduced to parliament in January as part of the Health and Social Care Bill, the boards will assume their powers in April 2013 when GPstake on responsibility for the NHS budget.

They will also introduce a legal requirement for commissioners to have regard to the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA), which is currently produced by PCTs and upper-tier local authorities.

Under the new arrangements the health and wellbeing boards will be responsible for carrying out the JSNA and the pharmaceutical needs assessment for their area as well as developing a “high-level” joint health and wellbeing strategy that spans the “NHS, social care, public health, and could potentially consider wider health determinants such as housing, or education”.

They will have the authority to write to the NHS Commisioning Board if they are concerned consrtia commisioining arrangements have not had sufficient regard to the JSNA.

However, despite the boards’ new role, the DH does not forsee positions for PCT or SHA staff. The framework states: “We expect a clear forum for partnership will improve the efficiency of the process of managing the interface between the NHS and local government.

“For these reasons, the government does not anticipate any additional cost burden falling on local authorities as a result of the establishment of health and wellbeing boards.

“We do not anticipate any staff being transferred from bodies in the current system (PCTs, SHAs etc) to administer the health and wellbeing board.”

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