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In recent years the NHS has changed. Most planning and buying of healthcare services now happens locally. This includes planning and paying for the services in hospitals such as equipment, nurses, doctors and the running costs of clinics and wards. But who is responsible for what?
Health and wellbeing boards bring together local people and organisations, including the NHS, council departments and local councillors. They are set up by local authorities (councils) and plan how best to meet the health and care needs of people in their area. They are responsible for producing reports called Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs). JSNAs should look at the health needs of people locally, and set out the health and social care priorities of an area. These JSNAs should be used to decide what healthcare services need to be bought now and in the future.
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are made up of GPs. They organise the planning and buying (commissioning) of the majority of local health services in England. This includes services in the community and hospitals, used by people with epilepsy. They produce reports called written needs assessments (WNAs). These describe the current services in place to manage medical conditions in the local area. CCGs should also work with health and wellbeing boards to create the JSNAs.
There is a Healthwatch in every local authority area across England. These were set up to be the voice of people who use health and social care services. Healthwatches are not involved in commissioning and speak out on behalf of patients if services are not good enough.