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28/02/2021 – Press Release - Working together to improve health and social care for all

The recent government white paper Integration and Innovation: working together to im-prove health and social care for all, published on the 11th February 2021, talks of better working between The NHS and Social Care. As a retired GP I know that such integration needs to start in the community and be led by General Practice and Primary Care. The most successful integrated health systems around the world are led in this way. These proposals will mean County Councils and the NHS working together to improve health and wellbeing. Of course Social Care and the NHS have always worked together as they should but the dif-ferent funding models have hampered real success.

Now in West Sussex we have Conservative councillors voting for the closure of Sure Start Centres which are the very model of integrated working. The white paper talks about the health issue of obesity in children and adults and how the Secretary of State wishes to reduce its incidence by wanting people to make more informed food choices to help them improve their health. Keeping these Centres open will do a great deal to address the issue of helping families make better and informed food choices which will undoubtedly contrib-ute to tackling obesity and supporting healthier lives.

I note that West Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services were rated as inadequate in 2019 and steps were taken to remove children’s services from council control with in-spectors noting bullying behaviour being tolerated and relations between councillors and officers described as dysfunctional. This does not build confidence for the success of an in-tegrated system across our health and social care services.

How can we have confidence that West Sussex County Council has any commitment to its residents’ health and wellbeing when the services that would be of benefit are being cut or constrained.

Alison Whelan

Labour candidate for Hurstpierpoint and Bolney Division

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