Prevention in action: the extent to which English local authorities and health and wellbeing boards recognise and prioritise prevention, as defined within the Care Act (2014)
FIELD Olivia, CARTER Chloe
Explores the extent to which local authorities and health and wellbeing boards across England recognise and prioritise the Care Act’s understanding of prevention. The study reviewed joint health and wellbeing strategies for the third year in a row, and made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request of all English local authorities to examine whether, and in which context, prevention was mentioned in the HWBs relevant documentation and how local authorities were implementing Section 2 of the Care Act. The Freedom of Information (FOI) responses indicate that local authorities are engaging with the Care Act’s triple definition of prevention, but this terminology has yet to be embraced by health and wellbeing boards. Both the FOI responses and joint health and wellbeing strategy review indicate that prevention is a key consideration in local decision making, including commissioning. However, while the review of joint health and wellbeing strategies indicates an improved understanding of prevention, tertiary types of prevention are still not being emphasised as much as primary and secondary prevention. In some cases, they are forgotten altogether. Many health and wellbeing boards are yet to place importance on preventative measures that could stop the deterioration or reoccurrence of a health or social care-related crisis by providing lower-level support. FOI responses and joint health and wellbeing strategies also emphasise the practical difficulties of shifting resources away from crisis intervention to prevention, especially in the current economic climate.