Councils join forces to make sure we are Healthier Together

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FIVE councils have joined together to form a Joint Health Overview which will review the NHS Healthier Together programme.

Milton Keynes Council, Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Luton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council will meet at the Central Bedfordshire Council Offices in Shefford tomorrow (Thursday) at 4pm,

The meeting will provide an opportunity for representatives from the Healthier Together Programme Board to discuss its engagement work, the emerging options on how acute health services could be delivered, and to consider the Healthier Together programme’s plans for public consultation in the autumn of 2012. The meeting is open to the public and residents are invited to attend the meeting to learn more about the proposals and to provide their views. This will be the first open public meeting where residents can learn more about the proposals that are being considered to rearrange acute health services in the region.

Over the last few months the Committee has scrutinised the Healthier Together programme’s public engagement plans and the Committee’s recommendations have led to new engagement work by Healthier Together.

Clinicians and patient representatives have been engaging with patients, and the public, to find out their views ahead of a public consultation later this year.

The Healthier Together vision is to move as many tests, treatments and appointments as possible out of hospital and into local settings, reducing the need for people to travel to hospital and to consider how best to combine expertise and improve patient outcomes by creating centres of excellence.

People should find they can access a wider range of health services closer to home, however they may need to travel further for some more specialist or ‘one-off’ procedures.

Councillor John Mingay, chairman of the Committee, said: “The Committee is very keen that as many people as possible get involved with the Healthier Together programme and respond to the future consultation about the proposed changes. We have already had an impact on the engagement work, where the Healthier Together team has accepted the Committee’s recommendations about new ways to reach the public. The Committee plans to continue to have an influence over both the consultation and the Healthier Together proposals about health services in the region.”

Once Healthier Together has completed the consultation, the Committee will be in a position to make its recommendations and will be considered by the NHS when final decisions are made in spring 2013.

All meetings will be held in public, and the committees papers can be found via the council website here

More information about Healthier Together can be found here