What is it about?

Health and Wellbeing Boards were introduced in 2012 to bring together all the key organisations in a local area to develop strategies for improving health and wellbeing in their communities. This paper examines how successful they have been in achieving their objective.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that for the most part those Health and Wellbeing Boards studied failed to make an impact on their communities and did not improve the health of their communities. They lacked effective powers to make a difference and tended to serve as talking-shops rather than as system leaders.


Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) have the potential to become system leaders in their communities but for them to succeed requires changes in their powers and the way in which they conduct their business. Some Boards acknowledge this and are working to ensure that they add value and make a difference. With the changes underway in the NHS arising from the Long Term Plan published in early 2019 there is an opportunity for HWBs to succeed but the jury is out on how far this will prove possible.

Emeritus Professor of Health Policy and Management David James Hunter
Newcastle University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Partnership or insanity: why do health partnerships do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result?, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, August 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1355819619858374.
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