Chair’s Blog – 9 November 2017

Hello there,

This month we held the Health and Wellbeing board meeting at Tipton Muslim Community Centre. We received fantastic hospitality and it was great to visit Tipton, it’s a really friendly town. If you have a suggestion of where to hold a future meeting, please get in touch.

This time around we had a number of really interesting topics to discuss. First we heard from Claire Parker, Senior Returning Officer of the Transforming Care Partnership. Our local partnership is made up of Black Country health reps and was set up in response to the Winterbourne View scandal in 2012. They are working to support people who have learning disabilities or complex mental health problems who need to be admitted to hospital.

They told us that they are doing well at discharging patients quickly once they are well and are working on reducing the numbers of children and young people with mental health issues by developing ways of improving things using the community to help. They really value the opinion of local people who have learning disabilities and will be asking for help to develop their service ideas.

We then heard from Sharon Liggins, Chief Officer of Strategic Commissioning at our local clinical commissioning group (CCG). The CCG provide your local GPs and most of the hospital and community services in Sandwell.

They told us about what they plan to spend their money on in the next 2 years. Important areas are cancer and how we improve detecting and treating it earlier, how we offer an excellent start to life and how we better plan for people who need urgent care and planned care (conditions like diabetes and tuberculosis)

Another important area of work is something called a CAMHS plan. CAMHS stands for children and young people’s mental health service and we have a plan that will transform how we help people. Key areas include developing an eating disorder service and an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) pathway for all age groups.

We then heard from David Stevens, Exec Director for Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing who updated us on how things are progressing with improving timely discharge from hospital.

I am pleased to report that we are fairly good at discharging people once they are well. To improve things further, the council and the CCG is developing a ‘hospital to home’ team. This team will bring together a number of colleagues to better support local people who need packages of care.

One of the most important phases of this work is to agree how we are going to pay for the services we develop that help local people. This thinking has already begun and we are working towards commissioning (developing and paying for services) collaboratively by 2019.


The next item was presented by Valerie De Souza, a consultant in our public health team. We want to change the process we use for developing our joint strategic needs assessments or JSNAs. JSNAs look at the current and future health and care needs of Sandwell to inform and guide the planning and commissioning (buying) of health, well-being and social care services locally.

Currently, we have lots of different JSNAs on various topics that sit on our Sandwell Trends webpage. We want to publish a single JSNA that supports the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Councils 2030 Vision presenting population need across a range of online chapters. The facility will become easier to find and easier to use and will be developed with the help of our partners.  I will update you about this exciting work in a future blog.

Next, John Clothier, the Chair of Healthwatch Sandwell spoke to us about the organisation and how it helps local people. Healthwatch is the independent voice of people using health and social care services in Sandwell. They work with individuals, groups and local organisations with help, support and signposting to GP services, hospital services, adult social care and much more.

John told us about the work they have been doing in the last 12 months including a number of enter and view visits. These take place so that they can understand more about how health and social care services are run and how users, patients, carers, family members and members of staff believe those services are working for them. Healthwatch also produced some investigation reports into important topics such as how local cancer services are changing.

Healthwatch lead on our board priority, ‘We will work with people, partners and providers of services’ and we value their place, as voting members on our board. We will be looking at how Healthwatch can support our focus theme work in more depth in 2018.

We then heard from Audrey Williamson, who is the independent chair of Sandwell’s Safeguarding children’s board (SSCB). The SSCB is a group of people who ensure organisations work together for young people’s safety. Audrey told is about all of the achievements her board had made in the last 12 months. These included improved communications with schools, developing a designated safeguarding practitioner forum and an array of safeguarding training and development opportunities. We also heard about their worries; which included the rise in numbers of children needing help and a rise in children suffering neglect.

If you want to find out more about the safeguarding children’s board, click here.

I had some news for board members in my chair’s correspondence this time. I had met with Ofsted a few hours earlier, who were conducting an inspection of our children’s services.

I am passionate about making sure that our board priorities support the work of children’s services wherever possible. This spans across to the work I am involved with the other statutory boards, (the safeguarding children’s boards being one of them along with the Safer Sandwell Partnership and the Safeguarding Adults board.) We are working together as a collective to ensure that amongst other things, safeguarding becomes everyone’s business.

I will support the 4 board’s chair Chief Superintendent Richard Baker to ensure that together, we develop and support out joint priorities which include prevention of violence and exploitation and improving and joining up the communications, engagement and training opportunities across all 4 statutory boards. Together, we can do more than we can apart.

Future meetings: Our next meeting will be held on 1 February 2018 at Wednesbury Town Hall in the council chambers at 4.30pm. Meetings are open to the public.

As I mentioned earlier, if you have any ideas of where we can hold the meeting please get in touch with the board project officer Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @SandwellHWBB


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