Brighton and Hove health chiefs agree new priorities

Posted On 16 Dec 2015 at 7:55 pm

Health chiefs approved new priorities for the coming four years with themes that include reducing inequalities and integrating services.

The Greens said that the aims were laudable but would be undermined by significant budget cuts.

Labour accepted that money would be tight and said: “All of our plans and strategies fully address the financial challenges we all face.”

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy has five “priority themes”. They are

  • Reducing inequalities across Brighton and Hove
  • Safe, healthy, happy children, young people and families
  • Give every person the chance of living and ageing well
  • Develop healthy and sustainable communities and neighbourhoods
  • Providing better care through integrated services

A report to the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board, which approved the strategy yesterday (Tuesday 15 December), said that the previous strategy’s five key priorities were

  • cancer and access to cancer screening
  • dementia
  • smoking
  • emotional health and wellbeing (including mental health)
  • healthy weight and good nutrition

To read the strategy, click here.

Green councillor Phélim McCafferty, who voted to support the strategy, expressed concerns about whether the strategy was achievable.

He said: “We wholeheartedly support the aspirational aims of this strategy to make Brighton and Hove a healthier, more equal city.

“However, we are deeply concerned that the Labour council’s budget proposals for 2016-17 will undermine efforts to make progress on these priorities.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

“Labour are again proving themselves the masters of spin as they try to convince people that services can improve while funding is dramatically stripped away.

“How will inequality be reduced when Labour is choosing to drive up costs of council tax for the poorest households?

“How can we have safe, healthy happy children, young people and families when we see massive cuts to children centres and youth services?

“How can we give people the chance of living and ageing well amid £22 million cuts to adult social care, which will see significant cuts to care and support for people living in their own home?

“The Labour council seem to be completely out of touch in regards to the scale of the cuts being proposed next year.

“Under Labour’s proposed budget, this strategy is in danger of becoming worth less than the paper it is written on.

“Above all, we need the Conservative national government to make a meaningful commitment, beyond what’s already on the table, to meeting the true costs of social care.”

Labour councillor Daniel Yates, who chairs the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “There’s no doubt that the reductions in central government funding across health, social care and public health will significantly challenge the delivery of services over the next few years.

“This is why across the council and clinical commissioning group we have been working to make sure that all of our plans and strategies fully address the financial challenges we all face.

“As I made clear at last night’s Health and Wellbeing Board, having a four-year budget process alongside our joint strategies helps us to plan for better integrated services which will deliver high-quality health and social care services despite the harsh Tory cuts.

“Over the next few years these changes will hopefully see residents living healthier lives and able to access services that are integrated to make things simpler and more personalised to their needs.”

Councillor Mac Cafferty acknowledged the recent announcement by the Chancellor George Osborne that councils could put up council tax by an extra 2 per cent to go towards adult social care. But all it would do was paper over the cracks, he said.

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