Changes afoot for county’s NHS

Coun Sue Woolley, executive county councillor for health, community and housing.
Coun Sue Woolley, executive county councillor for health, community and housing.

From April 1 when NHS Lincolnshire, the local Primary Care Trust is abolished, responsibility for most public health functions will pass to Lincolnshire County Council.

This includes the whole range of public health work – health protection, health improvement and health care.

Some of the services involved are immunisation, healthy eating, tobacco and alcohol, drug recovery, sexual health, pregnancy and children’s health.

Public health is about helping people to stay healthy and avoid getting ill, and the council will have a new statutory duty to take steps to improve the health of Lincolnshire people.

Coun Sue Woolley, executive councillor for health, community and housing at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We want to make sure that people living and working in Lincolnshire lead long, healthy and happy lives by improving the health of the population and reducing inequalities. These changes are part of the Government’s health reforms, and we are well-placed to take on these services, as we already have responsibility for many important cross-cutting services such as planning, schools and transport.

“This is an exciting time with many new opportunities already being taken to work more efficiently and effectively. We have already seen savings of more than £1 million through contract negotiations which offer improved services.”

Under the new arrangements, the council will also provide public health guidance to the county’s four new Clinical Commissioning Groups – made up of 102 GP practices – as they plan services like hospital and emergency care.

Dr Tony Hill, director of public health, said: “We have been working behind the scenes for some time to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible. Many of the services are provided by community groups, charities, partnerships and private businesses and this will continue to be the case, so you can access services just as easily as you have in the past.”