An urgent meeting of senior Brighton & Hove City Councillors agreed to endorse the new governance arrangements for the NHS today.
Green Councillors have today cautiously welcomed the introduction of new governance arrangements for the local NHS, which sees the chair of the city’s Health & Wellbeing Board appointed to a key decision-making body.
The decision was put to three senior Brighton & Hove councillors at a meeting of Policy & Resources Urgency Committee today, after it was delayed from a full meeting of the committee this week. Green councillors delayed the report being put to councillors, following concerns that democratic oversight was missing from the key decision-making body, the ‘Integrated Care Board (ICB)’.
The new arrangements have been put together following a Government reorganisation of the NHS in the Health & Social Care Act, which sees the introduction of regional NHS governance across East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove.
Campaigners have repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans, raising the alarm about democratic oversight. This includes a deputation presented to councillors in July last year from Sussex Defend the NHS.
Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council said:
“Since the start of the discussions about integration and the introduction of the Health & Social Care Bill in Parliament, Green Councillors have loudly campaigned for democratic accountability. The proposed structures were missing key elements of such accountability that would champion local people and their health needs.
“An amendment to the Government’s bill supported resident accountability but we still had to argue for this to be implemented in Sussex. We have been determined and through detailed discussions, have successfully negotiated that Brighton & Hove will have democratic representation at every level of the new Integrated Care System.
“This is a win for local people’s oversight of the NHS and healthcare and will help retain and develop democratic oversight. Through hard work and with conviction we have become the only council in Sussex which has successfully won this right for our residents.”
Cllr Sue Shanks, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board added:
“The decision today is a big win for democratic oversight of the NHS, ensuring that there is councillor representation at every level.
I am really pleased I will be able to participate in the board and in the very important work of improving health services and outcomes in the city.”